Western Grey Kangaroo
Facts about this animal
The Western grey kangaroo is one of the largest kangaroo species. Males may reach a length of up to 225 cm from head to tail and weigh up to 54 kgs, and the length of the tail, which is used as a balance in locomotion, ranges from 42-100 cm. The muscles are well developed, allowing the animals to leap up to 12 metres in a single hop and reach speeds of 60km/h. The species exhibits sexual dimorphism, whereby females are considerably smaller than males. Males are also characterized by a strong, curry-like smell. The colour of the coat varies from greyish-brown to reddish-brown and to chocolate-brown. The muzzle has finer hairs than most other kangaroo species.
Open grasslands, near water and with nearby forest or woodland, are the preferred habitat of the western grey. Probably the species is now found in greater numbers than before European settlement because of the provision of pasture and additional water points. As a result, western greys are often culled under licence in some areas by farmers concerned about damage to fences and crops.
Western greys are mainly grass eaters. They usually produce one "joey".They have no particular breeding season, although most young are born in the Australian summer. Newborns are minuscule, resemble a jelly bean and take only a few minutes to climb to the pouch and attach them selves to a teat. They leave the pouch at around nine months but continue to suckle for a further nine months, often while another young is occupying the pouch. Western grey kangaroos are the very vocal. The mothers communicate to the joeys with a series of clicks.
Did you know?
that the western grey kangaroo was described in 1817 at the Paris Natural History Museum on the basis of animals imported in 1803 and kept at the Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes? In Australia it was believed at that time that the animals were identical with the eastern grey kangaroo, however, the two forms do not interbreed.
|Name (Scientific)||Macropus fuliginosus|
|Name (English)||Western Grey Kangaroo|
|Name (French)||Kangourou gris de l'ouest|
|Name (German)||Westliches Graues Riesenkänguruh|
|Name (Spanish)||Canguro gris occidental|
|Local names||Australia: Forester|
|CITES Status||Not listed|
|CMS Status||Not listed|
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|Range||Western and southern Australia|
|Habitat||Open forest and woodlands, semi-arid mallee scrub and heath|
|Zoo population||279 reported to ISIS (2005)|
In the Zoo
How this animal should be transported
For air transport, Container Note 83 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.
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Why do zoos keep this animal
The Western grey, like other large kangaroos is a very popular species and therefore serves as ambassador of the Australian fauna.
Western greys carrying joeys in their pouches are a typical model for the marsupial type of reproduction, i.e. keeping them has also an educational function.
The western grey is also a species which can be displayed in "Walk-thru" exhibits, allowing for close encounters between animals and people.
Australian zoos also may come into the situation to keep western grey kangaroos for animal welfare reasons as they may accept and care for sick, injured or orphaned animals.