Kangaroos are the largest of the Australian marsupials. They have distinctive physical features that allow them to survive and thrive in the harshest conditions. Their strong hind legs allow them to hop over long distances and their thick fur keeps them well insulated in areas with extreme temperatures. But, have you ever wondered why kangaroos are so buff?
Primarily, kangaroos have a genetic disposition to strong muscle development. In fact, their muscle mass accounts for around fifty percent of their total weight. This allows these large marsupials to travel long distances easily and helps them to survive the sometime harsh climatic conditions around this vast land.
Here are some reasons why kangaroos have such a large muscle mass.
Kangaroos are grazing animals and need to travel long distances in order to find suitable grasses and other foliage to feed on. Their large size means that they need to have strong muscles to carry them. That’s why they have incredibly strong and muscular hind legs that help to propel them forward.
They also have a large muscular tail. Primarily they use this for balance when they stand upright. There is also incredible power in their tail.
In addition, kangaroos have large hearts just like other muscular animals such as horses and antelope. This is necessary because these animals are highly active when they leap over large tracts of land.
Red kangaroos, in particular, have a muscle mass that is 50% of their total weight and most of this is located in their hind legs and around their pelvic region.
Male Kangaroos Are Made For Fighting
In general, you’ll find that male kangaroos are more muscular than their female counterparts. And, there is a good reason for this. Kangaroos generally live together in what is called a mob. Each mob consists of one dominant male, several females and a number of younger adult males. In each mob, only the dominant male will breed with all the females.
In order to be selected as the dominant male, male kangaroos engage in spectacular fights to determine which kangaroo is the strongest and fittest. The fights, commonly referred to as boxing matches, can be quite brutal and only the strongest male will emerge victorious.
This amount of aerobic activity requires an intense amount of energy and strength. It also demonstrated another use of the kangaroo’s muscular tail. In fights, male kangaroos generally rely in their tail for balance while they kick their opponent with their strong and powerful hind legs.
Of course, not surprisingly, all of this fighting also helps to improve their muscle mass and make the dominant kangaroo even more buff.
Incredible Strength Is Needed To Propel Their Bodies Forward
The largest kangaroos can weigh as much as 90 kg (198 pounds). For them to propel themselves forward to cover long distances requires a lot of muscular strength. Especially considering that they mainly use their enormous hind legs for hopping in a forward motion.
When you look at a kangaroo’s hind legs, you’ll notice that they have very large feet. These legs and feet contain both muscles and tendons. In fact, their Achilles tendon runs right along their back leg. This helps to provide the energy needed to lift off the ground every time they jump.
Not surprisingly, a kangaroo can cover a distance of around 7 to 9 metres (25 to 30 feet) with each leap. It can also jump to a height of around 3 metres (10 feet) especially when needing to clear fences around farmland. As you would imagine, this requires an enormous amount of muscle mass considering the overall weight of the animal.
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Establishing Mating Rights
As previously mentioned, there is only one dominant male in each mob that will mate with every female in the same mob. These mating rights are established during the boxing matches that take place between the adult males in each mob.
It’s also interesting to note that female kangaroos are far more attracted to muscular males according to research studies that have been conducted.
Another interesting fact is that male kangaroos do have a tendency to flex their muscles when it comes time to mate. Obviously, these animals are fully aware of their allure to the female of the species and don’t mind showing off.
Roger, The Most Muscular Kangaroo On Record
One of the most muscular kangaroos on record was a large male red, named Roger. He spent his life in a sanctuary in the town of Alice Springs after being rescued as a tiny orphan joey.
When fully grown, Roger weighed just over 90 kg (200 pounds) and stood to a height of 2 metres (6 feet 7 inches). This amazing marsupial lived to a ripe old age of 12 years and sadly passed away in 2018.
He was so strong that he could crush a metal bucket with his forearms. One of his prodigies at the sanctuary, named Monty, looks to take over the title of being the most muscular kangaroo on record. From a young age, Monty would play fight with his father in order to develop his muscular strength.
Kangaroos are large marsupials that live in Australia. It’s mainly the males of the species that have the most muscular bodies and incredible strength. This comes both from their genetic disposition and the fact that they engage in regular physical activities such as fighting in order to establish their dominance in the mob and for mating rights.
Kangaroos also have to travel long distances in search of food and their enormous weight dictates the need for muscular hind legs in order to propel themselves forward using their unusual gait of hopping and leaping over the ground and sometimes even fences.
If you get the chance to see a moving mob of kangaroos, you can marvel at the strength that they possess in their hind legs and large feet that allows them to move around seemingly without too much effort and with a certain degree of grace.