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Eastern Gray Kangaroo – Macropus giganteus
The Eastern Gray Kangaroo offers quite a few different shades of gray out there. They also have a belly region that is a light creamy white color. The males are about 5 feet tall and the females about 4 feet. The males weight about 120 pound with the females not far behind at about 100 pounds. They have a thicker coat than other species of Kangaroos.
The body of this Kangaroo is designed to help it survive in the wild. They have enormous feet that helps it to get the movement we all know and love. The fact that they are the only animals in the world that move by hopping is very interesting. They use their powerful tails to help them to remain balanced. There are very strong muscles found inside of it.
They are known to be able to jump a distance of about 30 feet at a time. They can also cover a very long distance in very little time. They don’t use very much energy to hop so they are in very good condition when compared to other animals. They have spring like mechanisms in their legs that allow them to be able to move forward without depleting their energy. They can move about 30 miles per hour, and they actually use less energy the faster that they move.
The small arms of these animals are very strong too even though they pale in comparison to the size of the rest of the body. For the males, the strength they have in these limbs will help to determine their order within the mob. The ends of them feature very sharp claws that they use for getting food and even for defense against each other.
They have a very small head and large ears that stand erect. Kangaroos have a great sense of hearing and smell. They aren’t very good at sight with many of the Eastern Gray Kangaroos carrying a genetic marker for blindness in one eye or completely.
There isn’t enough evidence to strongly give credit to various theories about the evolution of the Eastern Gray Kangaroo. Some of the thoughts are that they come from early possums and that they evolved millions of years ago. Yet there haven’t been any real findings in the way of fossils to hold up that particular idea.
Due to the fact that Kangaroos are so different from other animals when you view their anatomy, it is definitely cause to believe they did derive from some other type of animal that we are familiar with. Finding what that link is though is going to continue to take time.
These are the fastest of all Kangaroos out there. It may seem unbelievable but they can actually leap up to 6 feet off the ground. They can also move forward about 25 feet per jump. As a result they are able to cover many miles every single day. They move at a steady speed but when they feel threatened they may be able to go as fast as 35 miles per hour for short periods of time.
They live in groups call mobs and there can be just a few of them or over one hundred of them. The females tend to be very social and to interact on various levels. Those that are related to each other seem to form even deeper bonds that are interesting to observe.
The males in the mob have a tougher role though because there is one that is dominant. When it comes to mating the females that are mature are like a harem to him. When he isn’t mating with them he is making sure other males aren’t attempting to. These other males are going to try to battle the leader though so that they can take over his role. They will battle through the use of boxing techniques.
Habitat and Distribution
You will find these Kangaroos living in the areas of Tasmania in addition to Australia. They live in the areas that offer more moisture than many other species live in. They are often found in the areas of the forest with plenty of trees. This helps them to find the shaded areas they need for resting. However, when it comes to eating they will usually be out there in the openness of the grasslands.
Diet and Feeding Habits
The Eastern Gray Kangaroo generally doesn’t have too much trouble finding food sources out there. However, when their range is taken away by humans or there is a change in the climate then there may not be as much in the way of grass, shrubs, and small trees where they are able to feed.
They do consume quite a bit of food on a daily basis. They will travel for many miles too in order to be able to find enough of it. The females with joeys may eat more than the males so that their bodies are able to produce enough milk fro their young to thrive on.
The teeth of Kangaroos are designed to give them advantages when it comes to eating. They have sharp incisors that allow them to remove food from the source. They have molars to help grind it before they swallow it. All Kangaroos regurgitate food so it will have to actually be chewed up again before their bodies are able to benefit from it.
Some believe that these Kangaroos doesn’t have a need for consuming water at all. They do need it but generally they can get sufficient amounts of it from the foods they consume. If not, they can go look for it or they will dig holes several feet into the ground until they reach it.
These Kangaroos are able to mate year round as long as their basic needs are being met. The females are ready to mate when they are about four years of age. It can take much longer than that for a male to be strong enough to lead the mob and to earn his right to mate.
Once mating is a success there will be a young joey about 30 days later. They are amazingly small and have many disadvantages. For example they can’t see and they don’t have any hair on them. Yet they are instinctively able to crawl to their mother’s pouch where they can find food and shelter.
The Dingo is a type of wild dog and it loves to feed on the Eastern Gray Kangaroo. These are very powerful dogs that can take down full grown males without too much of a fight if they catch them off guard. However, there are many instances where these Kangaroos have successfully kicked them and sliced them with their sharp toenails. That is their main battle defense but they will often try to hop away though if they think they have the opportunity to do so.
Humans seem to be the biggest threat to these Kangaroos though. It seems that people continually want more and more of the land where these animals have been living freely. As a result it is a huge conflict so humans go in there and hunt for them or poison them. In many regions there is also the fact that these animals are used as a source of meat.