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Kangaroo Behaviors text
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Bloomer lying in the grass

Daily Behavior

Kangaroos are part of a group, which consists of two to eight individuals and functions as a social unit. They usually spend their days laying around in the shade, coming out at night to graze on food. A group of kangaroos that have come together for the purpose of grazing, drinking, or finding shade is called an aggregation. Kangaroos like to roam, which is why their home ranges cover such a large area of

land. They live with hundreds of other kangaroos in a pack, called a mob. Living with a mob is a way for kangaroos to easily spot predators, such as dingoes, eagles, or humans. Mobs will be made up of mostly males, with only 15 female members.

Interactive Behavior

Behavior among the kangaroo can either be harmonious or aggressive. Respectful interaction includes nose touching and sniffing, nuzzling a female's pouch, touching the lips of another kangaroo, and mutual grooming. They also playfight. This behavior occurs between young kangaroo, as well as from mother to child, or between young adults. When kangaroos playfight they wrap their arms around one another's necks, touching forepaws and kicking.

Aggressive behavior takes shape through fighting which resembles playfighting. Most fights are one-sided and do not last a very long time. A kangaroo's body position can indicate the intention to fight. These behaviors include upright posture, stiff-legged walking, pulling on grass or bushes. Often, the challenged individual moves away before a fight even begins. The fighting is often referred to as boxing. Kangaroos will stand on their hind legs and tail, wrapping their arms around eachother and trying to knock the other kangaroo down.

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Mating

The dominant male is given all of the mating rights. This title is determined by size and strength. It is not until he dies or is beaten by a rival male that this right is given up to another kangaroo. When courting a female, the dominant male will follow her around, sniffing her to see if she is ready to mate. During this period, males may stroke a female's chest, neck, or tail. They are also seen bobbing their heads up and down while making a clucking noise. Females who are in heat may seek out the largest male by extending the boundaries of their home range.

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Kangaroo scratching its belly

Reproduction

Red Kangaroos breed continuously througout the year, although both Eastern and Western Greys tend to be seasonal breeders. The gestation period, (when the baby grows internally before birth) lasts 31 to 36 days. There are no external signs that a female is pregnant. An adult female typically gives birth two or three times a year. At birth, the baby kangaroo, called a joey, moves directly into the mother's pouch. Even though it is deaf and blind, it uses its sense of smell to find its way to the pouch while crawling through the mother's hair. At birth a joey is as small as a bean and weighs only 3/4 of a gram. A joey will live in the pouch between 90 and 300 days, depending on the size of the species. They grow extremely fast while in the pouch. After six and a half months, a joey is able to leave the pouch, although it still spends most of its time inside it. Then after about eight months, the joey leaves the pouch for good to make room for another baby.

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Questions? Contact Abby Root at rootae@uwec.edu
Page Last Updated on October 29, 2004