Red Kangaroo

Macropus rufus

The red kangaroo is an abundant species in Australia.

This species is a very large kangaroo with long, pointed ears and a squared-off muzzle. Males have short, red-brown fur, fading to pale buff below and on the limbs. Females are smaller than males and are blue-grey with a brown tinge, pale grey below, although arid zone females are coloured more like males.

It has two forelimbs with small claws, two muscular hind-limbs, which are used for jumping, and a strong tail which is often used to create a tripod when standing upright.

The red kangaroo's legs work much like a rubber band. The males can leap over 30 ft in one leap.

The red kangaroo's range of vision is approximately 300°, due to the position of its eyes.

The red kangaroo has the typical reproductive system of a kangaroo. The neonate emerges after only 33 days. Usually only one young is born at a time. It is blind, hairless, and only a few centimetres long. Its hind legs are mere stumps; it instead uses its more developed forelegs to climb its way through the thick fur on its mother's abdomen into the pouch, which takes about three to five minutes. Once in the pouch, it fastens itself and starts to feed.

Kangaroos dazzled by headlights or startled by engine noise often leap in front of vehicles. As a result, "kangaroo crossing" signs are as commonplace in Australia as deer crossing signs are in Minnesota.