Boasting proportions that seemingly defy logic, the beguiling kangaroo is found in the wild, close to Melbourne, and across Victoria.
The red kangaroo has the distinction of being the world's largest marsupials. It can grow to two metres tall and weigh up to 90 kilograms. A long tail is used to control balance when moving at slow speeds.
Short forelegs are handy for food gathering and in combat. As vegetarians, kangaroos existing on grasses, nuts, seeds and leaves.
Baby 'joeys' emerge from their mothers' pouches at around nine months old. Average lifespan is usually six years in the wild, or 20 in a sanctuary.
Victoria's fertile landscape is most attractive to the smaller Eastern Grey Kangaroo, which is shy and retiring by nature. You'll also spot wallabies across Victoria. Close cousins of the kangaroo, wallabies are smaller, with coats ranging from grey to rusty red in places. Wallabies have flat back teeth and shorter faces, while kangaroos have higher cheeks and longer, more elongated faces, with a curved row of back teeth. Unsure which is which? Don't get too close! Kangaroos can be protective. Take a photo and check the internet.
Unsure which is which? Don't get too close! Kangaroos can be protective. Take a photo and check the internet, or ask a Park Ranger.
Watch grazing kangaroos at dusk and dawn on sports fields from Gippsland to the Grampians, and on lush green golf courses from Gisborne, to the Great Ocean Road. Head to Melbourne Zoo, where kangaroos and wallabies recline in the shade, in a replica of their natural habitat – or to Healesville Sanctuary to meet the resident mob of red kangaroos.
Always take care on the road and watch for wildlife. Keep an eye on the roadside at dusk, as a collision with a startled kangaroo can kill the animal, and harm the car and its occupants. Slow down and pass at a speed which allows you to react to unpredictable wildlife. Don't stop in the road to take photos, as this can create hazards for other traffic.
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