25 Outrageous Kangaroo Facts To Keep Your Mind Hopping

Posted by , Updated on June 3, 2016

The word kangaroo originates from the Native Australian language of Guugu Yimihirr where the animal is called a gangurru. When Captain James Cook and his crew first learned this and saw a joey sticking its head out from its mother’s pouch, they originally thought kangaroos were two-headed animals. Today, we know much more about the beloved hoppers, even giving them specific names – baby kangaroos are known as joeys, adult males as boomers, and adult females as flyers. Found only in Australia, Tasmania, and Papua New Guinea, the kangaroo is now such a well-known symbol of Australia that it can be found on its currency, commercial products, and even on the Royal Australian Air Force.

These are truly fascinating and bizarre animals and, in this list, we dig into some of the strangest kangaroo facts you could imagine – or couldn’t. Some of these facts are so bizarre they seem as though they began in an eight-year-old’s imagination. (For instance, once a female reaches sexual maturity, she will almost always be pregnant, holding one embryo in her uterus, a fetus in her pouch, and a growing joey outside of the pouch.) Though there are many different kinds of kangaroos (see #12), in this list, we focus on the larger, more well-known kangaroos seen on most nature documentaries and Aussie kids’ coloring books. Be prepared to be shocked and amazed by this list of 25 Outrageous Kangaroo Facts To Keep Your Mind Hopping.

25

We start out our list with one of the coolest and most amazing roo facts. A kangaroo can become pregnant and then pause the birth in a type of suspended animation. If a female is not ready to give birth, such as if she is already caring for another baby, the embryo will stop development after a few days and enter a stasis mode.

rednecked wallabiesSource: BBC Earth, Image: Pixabay
24

The kick of a kangaroo is powerful enough to kill an adult human. Sharp claws on their hind feet have also been known to disembowel small animals.

fighting_red_kangaroosSource: Canadian Museum of Nature, Image: Wikipedia
23

Despite being a 14-year-old's default joke, kangaroos actually have a fifth leg - sort of. Used for balance while hopping, a kangaroo's muscular tail is used as a fifth leg when walking around. When they kick, they even balance on the leg to deliver the front kick.

kangaroo from behindSource: Outback Australia Travel Secrets, Image: Pixabay
22

When watching a fight for dominance between two males, it's easy to see who is the superior male. Only the sub-dominant male kicks in these competitions. (Like other marsupials, male kangaroos are unique in having their testicles above rather than below the rest of their junk.)

Wallaby-fighting-TasmaniaSource: National Geographic, Image: Wikipedia
21

The birth of a baby kangaroo is one of the most bizarre births in the animal kingdom. At the equivalent of seven weeks of human gestation, a small, pink worm comes out of the mother's birth canal. The underdeveloped little creature must grab onto its mother with its barely present front legs and climb up the thick fur before settling in her pouch.

kangaroo with joeySource: Outback Australia Travel Secrets, Image: Pixabay

20

When a baby kangaroo worm reaches its mother's pouch, it permanently attaches itself to one of the nipples (which expands in its mouth) for up to 34 weeks. As it grows, it learns to disattach itself and attach onto other nipples. The little roo can't actually suck so the mother's teat regularly shoots milk into the baby's mouth.

fetal Joey_in_pouchSource: BBC Earth, Image: Wikipedia
19

Some joeys don't leave the pouch for the first time until eight months after first going in. By this point, the joey is relatively mature, covered in fur and able to take its first hops around.

wallaby joey kangarooSource: BBC Earth, Image: Pixabay
18

A red kangaroo can jump as high as 10 feet (3 m) high and 25 feet (8 m) far. Adding this to its 40 mph (60 kph) top speed means roos can be seriously agile marsupials!

Flying-kangarooSource: Outback Australia Travel Secrets, Image: Wikipedia
17

You might wonder what happens if the little worm-like baby kangaroo falls off its mother's fur as it climbs up to her pouch. Well, if the baby falls, it's so small (about the size of a black bean) the mother will abandon it. If she picked it up, she would crush it Just by trying to move it.

Swamp_wallaby_joeySource: Kid Cyber, Image: Wikipedia
16

Kangaroos are mostly predated on by humans and dingoes. The hoppers will often defend themselves by leading an attacker into water and trying to drown them. After a dog in Victoria chased a roo into a lake, the dog's owner rushed to save the pup before the kangaroo tried drowning him, too.

Adam_Gustavus_Ball_-_Dog_chasing_a_kangarooSource: Canadian Museum of Nature, Image: Wikimedia
15

The grossest fact on our list of amazing kangaroo facts, joeys actually pee and poop inside their mother's pouch. (As if the pouch didn't already look enough like a diaper.) The pouch's lining absorbs some of the waste, but the mother regularly cleans it out by sticking her snout into the pouch and licking it clean.

baby-kangaroo-in-pouchSource: Live Science, Image: Public Domain Pictures
14

Kangaroos live in groups of around 10 roos called a mob. Though the group is mixed, only the dominant male - often the oldest and biggest - mates with the females.

mob of kangaroosSource: Outback Australia Travel Secrets, Image: Wikimedia
13

Kangaroos can't sweat so to cool down they'll lie in the shade or lick their front paws then rub the moist hands onto their furry chests.

Red_Kangaroo,_Desert_Park,_Alice_Springs,_NTSource: Kid Cyber, Image: Wikipedia
12

Though excellent marketing has given us all a clear picture of what a kangaroo looks like, the word kangaroo is actually an umbrella term including grey kangaroos, red kangaroos (the most famous), wallabies, pademelons, and wallaroos.

Tasmanian-pademelon-and-joeySource: Outback Australia Travel Secrets, Image: Wikipedia
11

Female kangaroos will go into heat just a few days after a baby is born. This way, if something happens to the joey, she almost always has an embryo in suspended animation ready to go.

kangaroo hugs baby before she diesSource: Koala Express, Image: AlphaX News via YouTube
10

Kangaroo is a highly nutritious game meat sold in countries across the world. Over the past few decades, it has been gaining popularity in Australia, especially in high-end restaurants.

Kangaroo_MeatSource: Australian Department of the Environment, Image: Wikipedia
9

Kangaroos can't move their feet independent of each other on land, always moving them in unison as if they are tied together. But, for reasons still unknown to us, they can move them independently while swimming.

two kangaroos fightingSource: Outback Australia Travel Secrets, Image: francesco_veronosi via Flickr
8

One of the most amazing kangaroo facts is that a flyer can actually determine the sex of her baby. While we are not yet sure how she does it, she will often give birth to females in her younger life, reserving males for later since they leave the mob sooner.

kangaroo-joey-in-pouchSource: Jan Aldenhoven, Kangaroos—Faces in the Mob, Image: Public Domain Pictures
7

Despite their powerful feet, kangaroos can't move backwards. Because of this, Australia chose to put a roo on its coat of arms to show it is always moving forward and progressing.

Australian_Coat_of_ArmsSource: Koala Express, Image: Wikipedia
6

In an overly-dramatic, John Cena-type of behavior, male kangaroos will rip up grasses or bushes to show other males how tough they are.

Swamp-Wallaby-FeedingSource: San Diego Zoo, Image: Wikipedia
5

Western grey kangaroos are sometimes called "stinkers" because they emit a curry-like odor.

2_Western_Grey_KangaroosSource: Koala Express, Image: Wikipedia
4

Cartoon kangaroos can often be seen boxing with their front legs. Though they can play-jab for fun, kangaroos also box to win a female. The jabs are mostly harmless, in contrast to a hit from their back feet.

joeys boxingSource: Outback Australia Travel Secrets, Image: Scott Calleja via Flickr
3

Though they are native to Australia and Papua New Guinea, some kangaroos have escaped from their owners in the U.S. and France and started feral populations.

two kangaroosSource: Ridgefield Press, Image: Pixabay
2

After a joey is mature enough to permanently leave the pouch, it will still come back to drink its mother's milk. Since she may have another baby in the pouch, kangaroos have advanced lactation systems - one of her teats will produce high carbohydrate milk for the mature joey and the others will produce a high-fat milk for the baby roo.

Eastern_Grey_Kangaroo_FeedingSource: BBC Earth, Image: Wikipedia
1

Our last bizarre roo fact is also a bit of a shocker. Female kangaroos have a pretty interesting piece of anatomy: three vaginas. Two of them are used to transport sperm into the uterus - actually, make that uteri: kangaroos have two of them, too. A flyer's middle vagina is used to transport the embryonic joey to the world before it climbs up into her pouch.

red kangaroo sleepingSource: Discover Magazine, Image: Pixabay
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