Animals : Other Mammals : Large mammals

Western grey kangaroo

Western grey kangaroos are one of the largest and most abundant kangaroos. All kangaroos are part of the marsupial infraclass, which contains 335 different species. They have very powerful hind legs which are used for hopping, and their tail is used as to balance. They have specially adapted inflexible ankles, which help the kangaroo avoid twisting them. When stationary or moving slowly they will also use their tail as a third hind leg. This set up allows the kangaroos to reach speeds of up to 60km/h.

Male kangaroos will often fight, mostly using their powerful kicks. All males have a patch of thickened skin over the belly to help protect from such kicks. Males have a strong curry like odour, which earns them the name “stinker”. Groups of kangaroos are called ‘mobs’ and western grey kangaroos live in mobs of up to 50 individuals. Females have a gestation period of just 30 days. A newborn kangaroo is just a few centimetres long and will climb to the mother’s pouch where it will stay for a further 280 days before first emerging. The young will continue to suckle until about 17 months old.

Western grey kangaroos are classified as “least concern” and the population has been steadily increasing in numbers in recent years. In many parts of Australia they are considered pests. Kangaroos of many species are used for meat, and hunting levels are currently very high. There is currently a lot of debate as to whether current numbers can sustain such a high level of hunting.

  • Western grey kangaroo
  • Western grey kangaroo
  • Western grey kangaroo

Key Facts

  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Distribution: Australia
  • Habitat: Grassland, Scrublands
  • Diet: Grasses, Leaves
  • Height: 85-140cm
  • Weight: 28 - 34kg
  • Gestation: 30 days
  • No. of young: 1
  • Life Span: 20 years