In your quest to learn everything you can about kangaroos, you might have asked the question “do kangaroos have fingers?”. We’re going to discuss this question in more detail.

As you know, kangaroos have large hind legs that they use for propelling themselves forward and covering long distances. In addition, kangaroos also have what could be considered as two forearms that are much shorter and used for a different purpose. At the end of these forearms, kangaroos actually have five fingers that are somewhat similar to human ones.

However, kangaroos don’t have thumbs like we do and at the end of their fingers, they have long and curved claws. They use their “hands” and fingers for tasks such as feeding and grooming.


Are A Kangaroo’s Front Paws Like Hands?

While kangaroo’s use their front paws much like we use our hands, they are actually paws that are somewhat similar to a dog’s paw. These paws have a thick pad and five toes with very sharp claws. These toes do look quite similar to fingers.

In addition, kangaroos don’t have opposable thumbs on their front paws but they still use these for performing a variety of different task.

How Kangaroos Use Their Front Paws

Kangaroos use their front paws quite effectively for performing a number of different tasks during their daily life.

During feeding time, kangaroos can use their front paws for holding down branches as they look for delectable leaves to munch on. Even though kangaroos don’t possess thumbs, they can be quite adept at using their paws to hold onto things, much like dogs and cats do.

Kangaroos also use their front paws for grooming. They comb their thick fur coats by running their claws through them. Another interesting fact is that kangaroos will actually smear their saliva over their bodies to keep themselves cool.

This is because these animals don’t have sweat glands to help themselves stay cool during the searing heat of an Australian summer. Instead, they lick their foreams and their paws and smear this saliva all over their chests. The blood vessels in their bodies are much close to the surface on the chest of a kangaroo and as the saliva evaporates, it helps to cool their entire body.

Kangaroos also use their front legs and paws to move forward slowly while they’re feeding. This method of movement is commonly referred to as crawl-walking.

This forward motion involves the kangaroo resting its forearms and paws on the ground and then using its tail for balance. This allows the kangaroo to pull its hind legs forward. Remember that a kangaroo can only move its hind legs together at the same time.

Male kangaroos also use their forearms for fighting during their familiar boxing matches with other males. In a common kangaroo boxing match, they’ll hold their opponent by the neck with one forearm and then hit and punch with the other one. You could well imagine that those sharp claws on their front paws can inflict some serious damage to their opponent.

How Do Kangaroos Use Their Hind Legs And Paws?

In comparison to their short and useful forearms, kangaroos have very different hind legs. These legs are immensely powerful and have exceptionally long feet. These feet also have paws on the end that possess tough paw pads. These pads are essential for protecting the kangaroo’s hind paws from the rough terrain that they hop over.

If you were to look closely at the hind paw of a kangaroo, you would notice that these are completely different to their front paws. Instead of five toes, these paws only have four. In addition, the middle two toes are actually fused together. Then, on the end of these toes are long and powerful claws.

These two central toes are designed to assist the kangaroo in its forward motion. They use these powerful toes to push off from the ground and this activates the spring-like motion of their Achilles tendon. This is primarily why kangaroos are able to travel long distances without expending a great deal of energy.

Another interesting fact about a kangaroo’s hind legs is that they can use these very effectively while they’re fighting. You would be aware that kangaroos also have a very strong and powerful tail. While fighting, they will use their tail almost as a third back leg to balance on and then kick their opponent with their strong back legs. This is necessary because kangaroos can’t use their back legs independently of each other.

It’s also interesting to note that the claws on a kangaroo’s hind legs are quite long and sharp. In fact, these claws have the ability to disembowel their opponent if they hit the right spot.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do kangaroos have hands or paws?

Kangaroos have paws that are quite similar to the paws of a dog with five toes and long sharp claws. However, they can use these paws in a similar way to how humans use their hands.

Do kangaroos have claws or nails?

Kangaroos have claws rather than just nails. These claws are very sharp and have the ability to easily tear through flesh and bones.

How many toes do kangaroos have?

Kangaroos have five evenly spaced toes on their front paws but only four toes on either of their hind paws.

Final Thoughts

It could be said that kangaroos have fingers because they can use their front paws for holding onto branches much like a human could. However, these “fingers” are actually toes and there are five of them on each front paw. They are primarily used for holding onto food, grooming and for fighting.

A kangaroo’s back legs are very dissimilar to its front ones. While the front legs are relatively short and used like arms, the back legs are long and powerful and end in large feet. These back legs and feet are primarily used for forward motion but they can also be powerful tools when two male kangaroos are fighting with each other.

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