Australian Red Kangaroo.
Macropus rufus (rue'-fus : "red long-foot")
The Red Kangaroo is the dominant species of kangaroo in the drier more arid inland regions of Australia. Red kangaroos are nomads and wander in small groups comprising of one male, several females and their young. The small groups will often join with other small groups to make up larger groups or 'mobs' of several hundreds.
The Red Kangaroo is the largest of all Australian marsupials and the mobs are dominated by gigantic battle-scarred males that can be over six feet tall. When to males are competing for a mates the confrontation is a very dramatic and intense one. Both males grip each other tightly with their large foreclaws, and wrestle, cuff and scratch their opponent, and occasionally balancing on their tails and lashing forward with their hind legs.
Although the Red Kangaroos are well adapted for the arid regions of Australia, they are most abundant in the slightly wetter surrounding plains. They graze during the night on a wide variety of grasses and low herbaceous plants. When food is scarce the red kangaroo may extend its grazing into the early morning and late afternoon.
Older males can be up to 3 times the weight of mature females. Females are sexually mature at 18 month of age while the males do not reach sexual maturity until they reach 2 years of age. A single infant or 'joey' is reared at any one time.
In times of drought, when food is scarce females and some males become temporary infertile. Once the drought breaks and with kangaroos having a gestation period of only 33 days, it doesn't take very long for the number of joey's to return to it normal population levels.
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