Red Kangaroo, Macropus rufus
October 2011

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Image copyright: M Kuhn from Flickr
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TAXONOMY & HISTORY
(Archer & Bartholomai 1978) (Beck 2008) (Böhme 2003) (Clegg et al. 2002) (Dawson 1995) (Dawson & Webster 2010) (Helgen et al. 2006) (ITIS 2006) (Kear et al. 2007) (Newsome 1980) (Prideaux et al. 2007) (Prideaux et al. 2009) (Prideaux & Warburton 2010) (Reed 1978) (Strehlow 1947) (Tunbridge 1991) (Tyndale-Biscoe 2005)

Describer (Date): Demarest 1822

Kingdom: Animalia
    Phylum: Chordata
        Class: Mammalia
             Subclass: Prototheria (egg laying mammals - platypus, echidnas, spiny anteaters)
             Subclass: Theria (placental and marsupial mammals)
                 Infraclass: Eutheria (placental mammals in 21 Orders)
                 Infraclass: Metatheria (marsupials in 7 Orders)
                       Order: Diprotodontia (11 families of diverse marsupials with 110 species) (Agar 2008)
                           Suborder: Phalangeriformes (cuscuses, brushtail possums, pygmy possums)
                           Suborder: Vombatiformes (wombats and koalas)
                           Suborder: Macropodiformes (kangaroos, wallabies, bettongs, potaroos, rat kangaroos)
                                Family: Hypsiprymnodontidae (musky rat-kangaroo)
                                Family: Potoroidae (potoroos, bettongs, other small rat-kangaroos)
                                Family: Macropodidae (kangaroos, wallabies)
                                   Subfamily: Sthenurinae (1 living genus and species - the banded hare wallaby)
                                   Subfamily: Macropodinae (10 genera of kangaroos, wallabies)
                                        Genus: Macropus
                                           Species: Macropus rufus                                       


Taxonomic History and Nomenclature Evolutionary History  Cultural History 

DISTRIBUTION & HABITAT
(Dawson 1995) (Tyndale-Biscoe 2005)


Distribution
  • Wide distribution in arid areas of inland Australia (Dawson 1995)
  • Red kangaroos do not live north of latitude 14° S because climate is too wet
  • Range has increased since 1800 due to human activities: (Tyndale-Biscoe 2005)
    • Providing water for livestock (which kangaroos use as well)
    • Clearing woodland for livestock and agriculture (makes new open spaces kangaroos can use)

Habitat: 

  • Open grassy plains with scattered trees for shade and shelter are preferred habitats (Dawson 1995)
  • Other environments utilized:
    • Mulga and mallee scrub
    • Saltbush shrubland
    • Arid grassland
    • Desert
  • Tolerate extreme heat:
    • Temperature at one study site in New South Wales: 44.4° C (111° F)
 
Red kangaroo distribution map

Red kangaroo distribution map. Click on map for more detailed distribution at IUCN website.

From IUCN Macropus rufus fact sheet.



PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS
(Agar 2008) (Bennett & Taylor 1995) (Dawson 1995) (Denny & Dawson 1975) (Grzimek & Ganslosser 1990) (Jarman 1989) (Marshall & Corruccini 1978) (McGowan et al. 2008) (Newsome 1995) (Nowak 1999) (Schmidt-Nielsen 1964) (Staker 2006) (Symington 1898) (Tyndale-Biscoe 2005) (Weisbecker & Sanchez-Villagra 2006) (Yousef et al. 1970)

Body Weight: Male: 22-85 kg (48-187 lb); Female: 17-35 kg (37-77 lb)
Body Length: Male: 93.5-140 cm (3.1 to 4.6 ft); Female: 74.5-110 cm (2.5-3.6 ft)
Standing Height: Male: about 1.5 m (4.9 ft); can also stand higher on toes when aggressive - almost 2 m (6.6 ft.) (Nowak 1999)
Tail Length: Male: 71-100 cm (2.4-3.3 ft); Female: 64.5-90 cm (2.2-3 ft)

General Pelage Sexual Dimorphism Adaptations to Desert Heat (Tyndale-Biscoe 2005)  Other Physical Characteristics

BEHAVIOR & ECOLOGY
(Bailey & Best 1992) (Biewener & Baudinette 1998) (Calaby 1971) (Croft 1981) (Donelan et al. 2002) (Dawson 1995) (Dawson & Denny 1969) (Edwards et al. 1996) (Johnson 1983) (Lee & Cockburn 1985) (Newsome 1975) (Oliver 1986) (Pople et al. 2007) (Rose et al. 2006) (Savolainen et al. 2004) (Staker 2006) (Tunbridge 1988, 1991) (Tyndale-Biscoe 2005)


Activity Cycle (Croft 1981) Territory Size Social Groups

      General       Hierarchy Territorial Behavior Aggression Play Visual Display Vocalization (Croft 1981) Other Acoustic Communication (Rose et al. 2006) Olfaction/Scent Marking (Croft 1981)
Red kangaroos can hop at speeds of 25 mph for long periods of time.

Red kangaroos can hop at speeds of 25 mph for
long periods of time.
Image credit: 0ystercatcher from flickr
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Locomotion (Dawson & Taylor 1973) Interspecies Interaction

DIET & FEEDING
(Bailey et al. 1971) (Bailey 1971) (Croft 1981) (Dawson et al. 1975) (Dawson & Ellis 1994, 1996) (Dudzinski et al. 1982) (Edwards et al. 1995) (Griffiths & Barker 1966) (Hume 1982, 1999) (Munn & Dawson 2003) (Munn et al. 2010) (Newsome 1975)


REPRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
(Dawson 1995) (Frith & Sharman 1964) (Grzimek & Ganslosser 1990) (Janssens et al. 1997) (Lee & Cockburn 1985) (McCarthy 1996) (Munn & Dawson 2003) (Newsome 1964, 1997) (Nowak 1999) (Sharman & Calaby 1964) (Shepherd 1981)

Courtship and Reproduction
At birth, joeys can spend up to 235 days in their mother's pouch.

After birth, joeys spend up to 235 days in their mother's pouch.
Image credit: Howard Russell from flickr
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Gestation and Pouch Period: Life Stages
      Birth       Infant (< 1 year old)       Juvenile       Adult Longevity Mortality

MANAGED CARE
(Staker 2006) 


POPULATION AND CONSERVATION STATUS
(Commonwealth of Australia 2007) (Dawson 1995) (Ellis et al. 2008) (FWS 2011) (Hacker & McLeod 2003) (Kelly 2005) (Nowak 1999) (Pople et al. 2007) (Pople & Grigg 1998) (Ramp 2010)

Population Status
Conservation Threats to survival
Important Web Resources:

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