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Kangaroos and Wallabies

Swamp Wallaby and joey©Scott TurnerKangaroos and wallabies occur in a wide variety of habitats throughout Australia. All kangaroos and wallabies are protected as they are native Australian animals. Some government authorised culling and commercial farming of specific kangaroo species occurs in restricted locations. However, a significant number of species of kangaroo and wallaby are now listed as threatened in NSW.

Appearance

Kangaroos are the largest of the marsupials. Like other large macropods (macropod means big foot) their hind limbs are very large, much bigger than the forelimbs which are short and lightly built. Their tails are long and muscular. There are fifteen species of kangaroos and wallabies in NSW including: Common, Black and Antilopine Wallaroos, Eastern and Western Grey kangaroo and the Red kangaroo. The Red Kangaroo, the largest of all kangaroos, can weigh up to 90kg and grow to 1.8 metres high. At full speed they have been known to cover a distance of 8m effortlessly in one leap. They spend a large part of the day lying in the shade and are most active in early morning and late evening (after sunset). Kangaroos and wallabies are herbivores, and mainly eat grass. Some species will also consume leaves, herbs, ferns, fruit and flowering plants. Kangaroos need little water except in drought as they obtain most of their moisture from dew covered grass and leaves as well as moisture from green grasses and plants.

Breeding

Kangaroos breed throughout the year. Newly born joeys, weigh less than 1 gram and make their way into the pouch unassisted by their mother. They joey will remain in the pouch until it is 5 – 9 months old. The female will mate again after giving birth but the embryo doesn’t develop until the first joey leaves the pouch. The joey emerges permanently from about 10 months and then stays with its mother, continuing to suckle until it is 12–18 months old.

Rescuing Macropods

Information and advice about rescuing macropods is available here 

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