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Fascinating and Amazing Facts about KangaroosKangaroos are amazing animals, even from the very earliest stages of their life.
Baby kangaroos, called joeys, In common with all marsupials, they are born at a very early stage of their development. In the case of kangaroos, this is at 31 to 36 days after gestation. At birth, kagaroos are only around 2 and a half centimertres long, hairless and pink with no eyes or ears, and weighing only about 0.8 to 1 gram.The baby kangaroo's hind legs are just stumps at this stage, so once it leaves the mother's birthing canal beneath her tail it has to drag itself using just its front limbs toward the pouch. The mother helps guide her tiny baby by licking a pathway of saliva between the birthing canal to her pouch.
Once inside the pouch, tthe baby finds its way to one of its mother's 4 teats and begins feeding on her milk. The newly born animal is unable to actually suckle but instead its mother has special muscles which pump her milk into her baby. The newborn is initially permanently attached to the teat, but as it grows it learns how to let go and reattach itself. It will stay in its mother's pouch for around 34 weeks, after which it will continue to feed from its mother for a further 4 months.
Kangaroos actually mate very shortly after the birth of a baby, but the development of the embryo amazingly stops after just a few days in a process known as diapause. As soon as one Joey leaves the pouch, the development starts again and the new baby is born shorly after. The mother then produces two different types of milk - one for her newborn at one teat and another separate type at another teat for her joey who has just left the pouch.
Adult males are called Bucks and females are called Does. A group of kangaroos is known as a mob and normally comprises between 8 and 25 individuals. Each mob has one dominant male, known as a Boomer, who is the only one who will mate with the females in the group. The males will box with other males as play, or to assert dominance. The boxing is generally harmless but kicking, with powerful hind legs and sharp claws, has the potential to do serious damage. It is only the sub-dominant male in a boxing match may resort to kicking.
Kangaroos are in a family known as Macropods, which mean big foot. They feed in the early morning then spend the day resting inthe shade before feeding again in the late afternoon. Grasses and a range of plants form their diet. Some of the smaller species also eat fungi.
They use their tail to balance while hopping and as a 5th limb when moving slowly. Jumping is Usually their jumps are 4 to 6 feet in distance but at speed they can jump as far as 45 foot (13.5 metres) and as high as 11 foot (3.3 metres). They can reach a speed of 60 kilometres per hour, which is almost 40 miles per hour!
They are national symbols of Australia and in fact there are amazingly more Kangaroos in Australia than humans!
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