kangaroo facts for kids, a kangaroo with a joey in australia.

Interesting Facts about Kangaroos

Let us tell you some of the most interesting facts about Kangaroos so you can love them as much as we do!  Kangaroos are the much beloved national animal of Australia and equally adored worldwide.  And it is not hard to see why.  Kangaroos are fascinating, graceful and also extremely powerful animals.  Here we have listed all the interesting, weird and wonderful facts we could find about kangaroos.

Ten facts about Kangaroos

a mob of Kangaroos jumping through the Australian outback.
Jumping kangaroos
  • Kangaroos are the largest marsupials on Earth.
  • Kangaroos are primarily all left-handed.
  • Kangaroos cannot go backwards.
  • Kangaroos often use their tail as a fifth leg when moving and for balance when jumping.  
  • Kangaroos are very good swimmers.
  • A baby kangaroo is called a joey.
  • A female kangaroo is called a ‘doe’ or ‘flyer’, and a male kangaroo is called a ‘buck’ or ‘boomer’.
  • Kangaroos are mostly herbivores.  Their favourite food is grass.
  • Kangaroos are social animals and can live in groups of over 50 kangaroos.
  • Kangaroos can live for up to 20 years.

Collective Noun

The collective noun of a group of kangaroos is known as a ‘mob’.

What is special about a kangaroo 

Did you know that kangaroos cannot go backwards?  This is why they, along with the emu who also can’t go backwards, are featured on the national Coat of Arms Arms.  It symbolises that Australia will not go backwards and will continue advancing as a country.

Kangaroo appearance

a big kangaroo lying down resting in the host sun
A very large kangaroo

Kangaroos are large animals, growing as tall as 2-3 metres in height and weighing up to 100kg on average.  They all have short hair, small forelimbs, powerful hind legs, big feet and long tails.  Their fur can be red, grey or brown, depending on their species.

Where do kangaroos live

Kangaroos are native to Australia and, depending on their species, are found in different regions.  

For example, the musky rat-kangaroo likes to nestle down in little nests on the floor of the rainforests in NE Queensland. Red Kangaroos are found over most of arid Australia, preferring flat open plains. Eastern Greys are found from Cape York to Tasmania; Western Greys have an equally wide distribution from Western Australia to Victoria (both species prefer denser vegetation)

What do kangaroos eat?

Kangaroos are herbivores, with their favourite thing to eat being grass, flowers, leaves, ferns, fruit and moss.  Some tree kangaroos are omnivores, eating both plants and meat. Tree kangaroos eat everything a tree produces, including bird eggs, hatchlings and other small animals.

How long do kangaroos live

Kangaroos live for just over 20 years in the wild.

Are kangaroos endangered

Kangaroos are not considered endangered and their current conservation status is listed as ‘least concern’.  Even so, they do still face many threats that make them vulnerable. The most common threats to Kangaroos are human activities, including hunting and vehicle strikes. Other threats are environmental changes and climate change, similar to the threats against most wildlife!

Are kangaroos friendly

If a kangaroo is hand-reared or used to humans, then they are generally quite docile animals who can be approached and even fed.  They can be aggressive in the wild and even in captivity, as they tend to adopt the fight or flight strategy.  Whilst most will jump away, they will also fight and attack humans if they feel threatened.  You should always approach a kangaroo with caution.

Can kangaroos be a pet?

The only state you can legally own a kangaroo is Victoria, and even then, it cannot be wild, and you will need a licence.  Kangaroos need a lot of space, and adults can get large and aggressive.  They are also very social animals, so having them as a pet is considered cruel.

How many Kangaroos are left in the wild

There are currently estimated to be approximately 50 million kangaroos in Australia.  

Baby kangaroos facts

  • A baby kangaroo is called a joey.
  • Joeys are the size of a jellybean at birth.
  • After they are born, a joey will climb up and into their mother’s pouch, where they will stay and continue to develop for about eight months.
  • A mother can have two joeys in her pouch at once, and each one will get a milk supply tailored to their specific age requirements!
  • Joeys are potty-trained from birth and only go to the toilet when their mother licks them to tell them they can.

Kids’ books about kangaroos

There are some wonderful kids’ books about kangaroos, such as:

Know about Kangaroos: Amazing and Interesting Facts and Pictures

Interview with a Kangaroo: And Other Marsupials Too

Why The Kangaroo Jumps

Explore My World: Kangaroos

Tippy the Kangaroo

More interesting facts about kangaroos

Bush Heritage – Kangaroo Facts

Western Grey Kangaroo

Interesting facts about other Australian Animals

Koala facts for kids

Wombat facts for kids

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Ngaire has lived in Australia her whole life, raising her three kids in Brisbane. She has qualifications in journalism, PR and early childhood teaching and spends what spare time she has advocating for Australian wildlife.

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