Eastern Grey Kangaroo
- Wild: 10 years
- Captivity: 20 years or more
- Length: 5 to 7 feet tall, not including tail length of 16 to 39 inches
- Weight: Up to 200 pounds; males are larger than females
- Eastern and southern Australia
- Open grasslands, woodlands, or forests
- Wild: Grasses, leaves, tree bark, and shrubs
- Zoo: Mazuri Kangaroo diet, apples, carrots, hay and peanuts
- Sexual maturity is reached at approximately 20 months for males and 17 months for females.
- Usually, only a single offspring is born after a gestation period of 36 days.
- Eastern grey kangaroos have short, silver-gray fur, which is darker on their hands, toes, and tail.
- They have large ears which provide them with excellent hearing.
- Powerful hind legs, long feet, and a long, muscular tail make these kangaroos excellent jumpers â€“ they can leap a distance of up to 30 feet in a single bound!
- Their strong tails also provide support and balance, and they can even use their tail for sitting!
- Kangaroo offspring, called a joey, is only an inch long and weighs less than half an ounce at birth.
- After birth, the joey climbs from the birth canal to the pouch where it lives and nurses for the next 11 months.
- At this time, it is old enough to leave the pouch, but may continue to nurse from the pouch for up to an additional 6 months.
- Eastern grey kangaroos form family groups called "mobs".
- A mob can have anywhere from 2 to 10 members, but generally consists of one large mature male, two to three females with joeys, and two or three younger males.
- Males compete for dominance of the social groups, with the strongest male becoming the head of a mob.
- Males determine dominance by "boxing", a form of male competition, in which males stand upright and kick with their hind legs while balancing on their tails and scratching with their fore-limbs.
- IUCN: Least Concern
- CITES: Not Listed
- As with all native Australian wildlife, exportation of kangaroos is controlled by the Australian government.
- Overall, the Eastern grey kangaroo is not in danger of extinction as there are an estimated 1.5 million in the wild.
- However, some sub-species are listed as endangered or near threatened.
- Threats to these animals are habitat destruction and large-scale killing by farmers, as kangarooâ€™s graze on the same land as sheep.
When European explorers first saw these strange hopping animals, they asked a native Australian (aborigine) what they were called. He replied, "kangaroo" meaning "I donâ€™t understand your question". The explorers thought this was the animalâ€™s name, and it has remained to this day.
- CITES Appendices. Accessed December 2012. www.cites.org
- IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. Accessed December 2012. www.iucnredlist.org