Red Kangaroo

Macropus rufus

Image by Sharon McGrigor

The Red Kangaroo is the largest living marsupial in Australia it can jump over 3 meters high and the males can leap over 9 meters. Males are much larger at up to 90 kg and 1.9 meters tall than females at 35 kg and 1.25 meters tall. The females colour is blue-grey but the male is a distinctive red.
The Red kangaroo is a mob animal and live as a family group of about 10 sheltering under a tree in the day time preserving energy in the hot and generally dry conditions, venturing out at night to feed on grasses.
The red kangaroo is mobile and semi nomadic, not restricted by stock fences. It is a social grazing animals in mobs consisting of dominant male, number of adult females and juveniles of both sexes, can also be large mobs of several hundred.

It is found in parts of Australia that have low and unpredictable rainfall. Fire or drought may force them away from their home range in search of food. There is only one species of Red Kangaroo despite its wide distribution.  Males are generally brick-red in colour but they can also be blue-grey to pale red with the tip of the nose being naked.  Females are smoky blue and are sometimes called Blue Flyers – in some areas they can also be red.

They hop differently from Eastern and Western Grey kangaroos, with flat backs and head hung low in line with backs, the tail is not curved nor does it swing much. Distribution is through the central part of Australia in areas of less than 500mm annual rainfall.  The highest densities are in the rangelands of Western NSW.   .

The female gives birth to a single joey which stays in the pouch for the first nine months. When it reaches 12 months of age it is independent but females will stay with the family mob. In drought conditions this sensible marsupial knows not to breed and will wait till conditions improve before having another joey. Young males can be seen in ritualised fighting known as boxing. They usually stand up on their hind limbs and attempt to push their opponent off balance by jabbing him or locking forearms. If the fight escalates, they will begin to kick each other. Using their tail to support their weight, they deliver kicks with their powerful hind legs. Compared to other kangaroo species, fights between red kangaroo males tend to involve more wrestling. Fights establish dominance relationships among males, and determine who gets access to breeding females. Displaced males live alone and avoid close contact with others.

50% fail to survive the first 2 years, 90% die before reaching 10 years and few make it to 20 years.

Red Kangaroo joey orphaned

Being situated on the North Coast of NSW we do not have Red kangaroos, they are found much further inland. You can imagine our surprise when receiving this little fellow in to care. He had been picked up in Queensland by a caring couple finding his mother dead on the road.


After a week in care at Wildlife Mountain, we located a wildlife care organisation close to where he had been found, and he was returned to his home territory, where he will spend many months in care, before being released back to the wild.




If finding a native animal in distress, please try to locate a wildlife care organisation close to where you found the animal, as all native animals must be returned to their home territory.


I must admit it was a great experience caring for this animal, being a kangaroo rather than a wallaby which is what we are used to here on the North Coast .




Image by Sharon McGrigor

Image by Sharon McGrigor

Image by Sharon McGrigor

Image by Sharon McGrigor








October 18, 2013


©Wildlife Mountain 2000 - 2017


We would also like to acknowledge the amazing support and help we have had from the Lismore Vet Clinic who have been an invaluable support to both us and the native wildlife of this region.

All native birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles are proteced under the Wildlife Act 1975, they may not be captured or harmed in any way without an authority issued under the Wildlife Act.