Kangaroos are the largest of the Australian marsupials. Marsupials are mammals that give birth to live young that are carried and suckled in a pouch as they continue to develop. Have you ever wondered how much these large and powerful animals weigh?
There are basically four different species of kangaroos in Australia and these can vary in weight from 20 to 90 kg (44 to 198 pounds). In general, adult male kangaroos will also weigh more than their female counterparts.
Let’s look at these different species in more details.
Weight Differences Between Kangaroo Species
Here’s a quick chart to explain the maximum weight differences between the different species of kangaroos.
|Western Grey Kangaroo||72 kg (158 pounds)||37 kg (81 pounds)|
|Eastern Grey Kangaroo||66 kg (145 pounds)||35 kg (77 pounds)|
|Red Kangaroo||90 kg (198 pounds)||40 kg (88 pounds)|
|Antilopine Kangaroo||49 kg (108 pounds)||20 kg (44 pounds)|
As you can see, there’s a fair variation between the different species but an even greater variation between male and female kangaroos. This natural weight difference between males and females of the same species is known is sexual dimorphism.
It’s also quite common for the size between males and females of the same species to vary significantly. In the case of kangaroos, males can often be twice the size of their female counterparts.
Western Grey Kangaroos
Western grey kangaroos (Macropus fuliginosus) are found mainly in Western Australia. They range in weight from 37 kg (81 pounds) for the female and 72 kg (158 pounds) for the male. In addition, they can measure from 97 to 223 centimetres (38 to 88 inches) from head to tail.
These kangaroos primarily breed from late November through to early February. When the young are born, they only weigh around 0.8 grams (0.002 pounds) and are highly undeveloped. They are called joeys. These tiny little creatures crawl from the mother’s birth canal into the pouch. Once they reach the pouch, they attach themselves to a teat and continue to grow and develop.
It takes around ten and a half months before the joey is ready to come out of the pouch. However, it will only come out for a short time and will still continue to suckle from the mother for another six months.
Eastern Grey Kangaroos
As you would imagine, the eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) is mainly found in the eastern part of Australia. Eastern grey females can weigh up to 35 kg (77 pounds), while eastern grey males can weigh up to 66 kg (145 pounds).
A male eastern grey kangaroo can measure around 150 cm (59 inches) in length and around 200 cm (6.5 feet) when you include the tail. This means that the larger male kangaroos are nearly as tall as a human when they stand on their hind legs.
This species of kangaroos do have the ability to breed throughout the year but most breeding occurs during the summer months. To give you a better perspective of a newly born joey, it is about the size of a jelly bean.
The red kangaroo (Macropus rufus) is the largest species of kangaroo. Males can weigh as much as 90 kg (198 pounds) while female reds can weigh up to 40 kg (88 pounds). A male red can easily stand over 6ft tall on its back legs.
Red kangaroos are mainly found in inland Australia. Because conditions there can be quite hot and dry, these animals have adapted to survive on very little water.
The Antilopine kangaroo (Macropus antilopinus) lives entirely in the northern tropical regions of Australia. It’s the smallest of the four species with males weighing up to 49 kg (108 pounds) and females only reaching a weight of around 20 kg (44 pounds).
Male antilopine kangaroos can reach a length of around 120 cm (48 inches) while females only reach a length of around 80 cm (31.5 inches).
Other Interesting Facts About Kangaroos
Apart from their heavy weight and large size, there are many other interesting facts about kangaroos.
- With their strong hind legs, kangaroos can reach speeds of around 60 kph (37 mph) when they’re in full flight.
- Large kangaroos can clear more than 8 meters (26 feet) in just one single bound.
- Kangaroos are good swimmers and use their tail to help propel them through the water.
- It’s impossible for kangaroos to hop backwards.
- Female kangaroos have a total of four teats and each one of these can produce a different type of milk that coincides with the different developmental stages of the joey.
- Kangaroos will growl, hiss and cluck when they feel threatened.
- The kick force of a kangaroo’s hind legs has been measured at around 344 kg (759 pounds).
- The punch force of a kangaroo’s tail has been measured at around 125 kg (275 pounds).
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does the biggest kangaroo weigh?
The largest confirmed weight of a kangaroo was that of a red. This particular animal weighed a massive 91 kg (201 pounds) and stood around 180 cm (5.9 feet tall).
Why are male kangaroos so much larger than female ones?
This is a phenomenon among many mammal species and is referred to as sexual dimorphism. It is a direct result of evolution through the process of natural selection. This process of evolution places more emphasis on the reproductive cycle. Therefore, in the case of kangaroos, it’s the strongest and fittest male in the mob that gets to mate with all the females.
Kangaroos are the largest marsupials found in Australia. Male kangaroos can reach a weight of around 90 kg (198 pounds) while females only weigh up to 40 kg (88 pounds). The largest and heaviest species of kangaroo in Australia is the red kangaroo that lives mainly in the dry and hot inland regions.
Even though adults kangaroos grow to an impressively large size and weight, a newly born joey (baby kangaroo) is only about the size of a jelly bean.