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Eastern Grey Kangaroo

Scientific Name: Macropus giganteus

Did You Know?

In good seasons it is possible for female kangaroos to have three offspring at different stages. An older joey spending its time out of the pouch, a 4-5 month old mostly in the pouch and an embryo in the womb in suspended development awaiting the pouch to be vacated by its older brother or sister. This can lead to a population explosion, which, if followed by a poor year, causes kangaroos to feed on crops or grazing land. Controlled culls of eastern greys take place on a regular basis to reduce the impact of these situations. State fauna authorities grant licenses to shoot excess kangaroos where its deemed necessary.

Eastern grey kangaroos have a woolly fur which is silvery-grey to dusky greyish-brown in colour. An adult male can reach a height of nearly 2.2m when standing erect and weigh in excess of 60kg. Females are smaller, rarely exceeding 1.8m.

Habitat:

The eastern grey kangaroo inhabits the grasslands, woodlands, forests and scrublands through much of Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania, usually where the annual rainfall is more than 25cm.

Diet:

Kangaroos are grazing animals, with grasses and herbs its preferred food.

Reproduction:

Eastern grey kangaroo's breed throughout the year with the peak births being in summer. When the female is ready to mate, the male makes several attempts over a period of days before successful mating occurs, which may last for nearly an hour in some cases. The gestation period lasts for around 36 days. The newborn animal weighs less than one gram and proceeds to climb from the urogenital opening to the pouch. This is a monumental journey for such a tiny, undeveloped infant. Once in the pouch, it attaches itself to one of the four teats. In some cases, a female may mate again when her pouch young or joey is more than four months old. The fertilized egg develops but does not mature until the joey vacates the pouch. At about the age of 9 months, the joey leaves the pouch for short periods. At 11 months of age it leaves the mothers pouch, but it is still suckling. At around 18 months the joey has left the pouch permanently and is fully weaned.

Behaviour:

The Eastern Grey Kangaroo usually rests in the shade of the forest or shrubs through out the daylight hours. Late in the afternoon they emerge from cover to graze in large groups until early morning.

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