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Structure profile of a female red kangaroo
Size Skeletal Features Reproduction
Fur type & Differences Senses  

Size
Kangaroos vary in size depending on their species and gender. The Red Kangaroo can be up to 6 ½ feet tall and weigh up to 200 pounds, while the smallest kangaroo, the rat-kangaroo, may only be about 1 foot tall. Male kangaroos can even be up to twice as big as a female kangaroo of the same species.

Fur type & Differences
Fur type and color are another one of the features that identify different species of kangaroos. However, no matter what the species, kangaroo fur is almost always very thick. Fur color even varies by gender. Red kangaroo males have reddish colored coats. Female Red kangaroos on the other hand, have coats that are bluish-gray in color. The fur also serves an important purpose: it helps regulate body temperature. Kangaroos keep cool by panting, just like a dog. They also keep cool by licking their forearms. Licking their forearms increases the speed of evaporation and keeps their body temperatures constant.

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Skeletal Features
Kangaroos have four feet, two front feet and two back feet. The two front feet are heavily clawed and shorter than the kangaroos’ back feet. They are used for eating, playing, and fighting. The front feet have 5 toes of different lengths. The back feet are long and powerful and are used for hopping. There are 4 toes on the back feet. One of these toes has a sharp claw which is used for defense. The tail of the kangaroo is often times referred to as its “third leg”. The kangaroo tail is both long and strong. The average length of the tail in the Red kangaroo is 42 inches but may be much smaller in different species. The tail is used for balance when hopping and also when standing.

Senses
The senses of the kangaroo are important to their survival. Kangaroos have two large eyes, which are situated on both sides of their head. This gives them a large field of vision, which helps kangaroos avoid predation. The ears of the kangaroo are typically round or oval shaped and long. The ears are especially large in relation to their small head. Smell is another one of the important kangaroo senses. Kangaroos typically have a short snout. This snout and its ability to smell becomes vital during the kangaroos' travel to the pouch after birth.

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Reproduction
Probably the most identifiable feature of the kangaroo is its pouch. However, kangaroos are not born in the pouch of their mother. Baby kangaroos grow and develop initially inside their mother. After delivery, the baby kangaroo, or joey, relies on its senses to guide it to the pouch. The pouch provides an environment where the joey will grow and remain until maturity.

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Questions? Contact Caryn at sissonce@uwec.edu
Page Last Updated on November 4, 2003