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Western Grey KangarooWestern Grey Kangaroo

Since the late 18th century, human settlement has drastically changed kangaroo numbers and distribution. Loss of many grassland areas from grazing domestic cattle and introduced species such as rabbits, mean negative effects on native Australian species such as kangaroos. Before European settlement, native Aboriginal peoples utilized the kangaroos for meat and hide.While many species have decreases in number due to human population and introduction of predators such as the red fox and domestic cats and dos, some species’ populations have actually risen, causing kangaroos in some areas to be considered pests. Farmers concerned about damage to fences and crops often cull them under license in some areas.

These kangaroos are the most vocal of the three large kangaroo species. The mothers communicate to the joeys with a series of clicks. When defensive, they will growl like a dog.

The western greys have very close social bonds, keeping family connections for years. A daughter often stays close to her mother even after she has a joey of her own.

While running at speeds of about 12 mph, these kangaroos are able to reach 35 mph in short bursts.

Western greys are mainly grass eaters. The males may fight for the attention of a fertile female. They breed throughout the year, although most young are born in summer. They usually produce one joey. Newborns resemble a jelly bean and take only a few minutes to climb to the pouch and attach themselves to a teat. They leave the pouch at around nine months but continue to suckle for a further nine months, often while another young is occupying the pouch. The mothers and their young use a series of clucking sounds to communicate.

Description : These large, muscular animals are grayish-brown to reddish-brown with a small head, large ears, and a long thick tail used for balance. It also has short forearms, strong hind legs, and long broad back feet for hopping and standing upright.

COMMON NAME: Western gray kangaroo

KINGDOM: Animalia

PHYLUM: Chordata

CLASS: Mammalia

ORDER: Diprotodontia

FAMILY: Macropodidae

GENUS SPECIES: Macropus (big foot) fuliginosus

Size: Approximately 2 m (6.6 ft) long head to tail; 6-7 ft (180-210 cm) in height, Male: About 54 kg (121.5 lbs), Female: About 28 kg (63 lbs)

Diet: Includes grass and shrubs

GESTATION: Gestation lasts approximately 31 days; usually one joey (offspring) is born after a gestation period of only 31 days. The joey climbs from the birth canal to the pouch in three minutes. It leaves pouch at 8½ months and is independent at 10 months.

NURSING DURATION: After leaving the pouch, the joey continues to nurse for another 6 months.

SEXUAL MATURITY: Approximately 2-3 years

LIFESPAN: 9-13 years

HABITAT: Inhabits grasslands near water and with a nearby forest or woodland

VOICE: screams loudly when threatened or when fighting. A series of shrill barks to warn of predators.

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