Kangaroos - Depot Beach, NSW

Kangaroos

One of the best known marsupials is the kangaroo, which has become known as the national animal of Australia. Although it is of graceful build, its small deer-like head and very short forelegs are out of proportion to the rest of its body which, in a fully-developed male, weighs about the same as a tall, well-grown man. Although the great length of the hind limbs compared with the forelegs make the kangaroo look awkward when grazing, the awkwardness vanishes as soon as the animal lifts itself erect and begins to hop. It moves in a series of bounding leaps attaining, at top speed, a rate of 70 kms per hour. The average jump is about 3 metres, but kangaroos have been known to cover as much as 7 metres in a single leap and to clear a seven foot fence with ease.

There are several species of kangaroo, of which the two largest, the red and grey, average about 1.7 metres in height. The smaller black ones which live in the rocky gullies and scrub country are known as wallabies, but the distinction is mainly a matter of size. Kangaroos are ordinarily of a gentle disposition, but an "old man" kangaroo at bay can be very dangerous. With a single stroke from the powerful claws of his hind metres, an "old man" has often killed a pursuing dog and on occasions has been known purposely to lure a dog into deep water and hold it under until drowned.

Kangaroos are fond of company and are generally to be seen in "mobs". Before the advent of the settlers, great herds existed all over Australia and even to-day they are quite plentiful in sparsely-settled areas and open forest country. Their food consists mainly of grass and small herbage. Although opinion varies among pastoralists regarding the amount they consume, it is generally conceded that their appetite, in proportion to their bulk, is unusually small.

Location

Depot Beach, NSW, 2536