The Red Kangaroo is one of the forty living members of the macropod family in Australia. Kangaroos and wallabies are the more commonly known species from this group however wallaroos, quokkas and pademelons also belong to this family.
Sometimes known as the marloo, the Red Kangaroo is the world's largest living marsupial and the most abundant kangaroo in Australia. Found mainly in regions where rainfall is low and unpredictable, it is generally restricted to the arid zones. When water is available they will drink however if a variety of green grass and herbaceous plants are available, water is not a necessity. .
Males are red in colour, have a height of 1.8 metres, weigh more that 90 kg and reach sexual maturity at the age of two. Females may be red or bluish-grey, 1.25 metres in height, weigh approximately 35 kg and mate at 18 months. .
The average lifespan varies from 15-20 years. They breed almost continuously and are able to halt embryonic or larval development, if experiencing drought conditions. A mother will give birth to a joey measuring 1 -2 cm, which must crawl from her cloaca through her fur into her pouch and attach itself to one of her four nipples. There the newborn will stay for several months. Once outside the pouch, the joey suckles from a special elongated teat that produces a different formula to that of a teat inside the pouch that may be feeding another newborn. The females will remain with the mob however young males disperse in search of new groups therefore ensuring no interbreeding within the population.
This species moves in groups ranging from a few dozen to several hundred and usually occupies a home territory of about 100 hectares. Males compete with each other to get close to a receptive female, who then mates with the more dominant male. Fights may last for up to half an hour with the surviving male then breeding with most of the females in the group until he is challenged.