Macropods – Kangaroos & Wallabies
Eastern Grey Kangaroo
The Eastern Grey Kangaroo is an iconic marsupial mammal. They live in mobs of 10 or more in a home range of up to 5km in eastern Australia.
Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Macropus giganteus, is a marsupial mammal that belongs to a small group called macropods. They have hind legs that are larger than their forelimbs. Their hind feet are also large and powerful. Their long muscular tail is used for balance when hopping and as a fifth limb when movements are slow. The fur is a light grey woolly colour except the face which is darker. A dark tip of fur is also found on the tail.
Males: body length to 1.3m, tail to 1m; females: body length to 1m, tail to 0.84m
Eastern Grey Kangaroos
Kangaroo vs Wallabies - What's the Difference
Information for Rescuers
General Information for rescuing kangaroos & wallabys
♦ Place the kangaroo/wallaby in a secure environment eg a pillowcase with the top tied securely or a secured box.
♦ Cover with a towel to create a warm environment, and reduces visual stimuli.
♦ Put the animal somewhere warm, quiet and dark to reduce the stress. This means – no nursing or cuddling; no photos; keeping it away from the TV, pet dog etc.
Joey kangaroo or wallaby
Information for rescuers
♦ Check: if cold or has no fur, place a hot water bottle (even a drink bottle will do) filled with hot tap water only, wrapped in cloth, next to (never underneath) the joey.
♦ Place the joey in a secure environment – eg pillowcase and secure and follow instructions above.
Kangaroo or wallaby entangled in wire
♦ Members of Hunter Wildlife Rescue cannot remove possums from inside roofs, wall cavities, under houses etc.
♦ You will need to get the possum’s entry point fixed so the possum cannot re-enter. By law, the possum will be released in the same area. A member of Hunter Wildlife Rescue can take the possum into care AFTER it has been contained and it will be released back in the same area
Most common reasons for rescues
- Hit by cars
- Attack by pets such dog
- Entanglement in wire
Ringtail possum being hand raised
Feeding and diet
The Eastern Grey Kangaroo is predominantly a grazing animal with specific food preferences. They are herbivorous, favouring grasses but will eat a range of plants, including in some cases, fungi. With the grasses they prefer to eat young green shoots high in protein. Dry grass is difficult for them to digest. Being nocturnal, large ‘mobs’ will gather at dusk to feed where food is most abundant.
Other behaviours and adaptations
They usually rest in the shade or shelter of trees or scrubs moving out to graze from late afternoon to early morning when they will congregate in the open. This is avoiding the hottest part of the day. They communicate via a series of clucking sounds. Aggressive males and alarmed individuals of both sexes give vent to a guttural cough.
The tendons in the legs of kangaroos act like sprung ropes and help propel the animal at fast speed with minimum effort. The highest recorded speed was set by a female Eastern Grey Kangaroo at 64km/hr.