Are There Kangaroos In Africa?

Did you know that kangaroos can leap about 30 feet in a single bound? Or that kangaroos can travel more than 30 miles per hour? Did you also know that kangaroos live in groups of about 50 or so other kangaroos – and that these groups are called “mobs”?

Kangaroos are one of a kind animals! Here we take a look at some more interesting facts about kangaroos, like where they live, what they eat, and how they raise their babies! 

Are there kangaroos in Africa? Kangaroos are not found naturally in Africa. In fact, most kangaroos are found in the wild in Australia! But within Australia, there are different regions where the kangaroos live. Certain kangaroos prefer certain locations. For example, the gray kangaroo lives in forests in Australia, the antilopine kangaroo and tree kangaroos live in eucalyptus woodlands in Northern Australia, and the musky rat kangaroo lives in the rainforests of northeastern Queensland.  

Kangaroo at Lucky Bay in the Cape Range National Park near Esperance, Western Australia
Kangaroo at Lucky Bay in the Cape Range National Park near Esperance, Western Australia

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Can kangaroos be found living in the wild in any place besides Australia? 

There are a few other countries in the world where kangaroos live. While the vast majority of kangaroos live in Australia, there are some kangaroos that live in Papua New Guinea and New Zealand, which are both two countries located close to Australia. Oddly enough, there have been some reports decades ago of kangaroos in North America! Kangaroos were spotted in Nebraska, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Minnesota. These were known as “errant kangaroos.” These kangaroos were spotted at the turn of the 19th century, but these “phantom kangaroo” sightings have appeared all over the US in the years since. 

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Did kangaroos ever live in Africa? 

Kangaroos were never native animals to Africa. Instead, southern Africa has their own “answer to the kangaroo.” Springhares resemble a small kangaroo because they have large back legs and short forearms and they also hop around like a kangaroo. But these animals are actually not even related to kangaroos. Springhares have confused scientists for years- they appear to be a mix between a kangaroo and a rabbit, but they do not fit in with either group.  

What do kangaroos eat? 

Kangaroos are herbivores. This means that they eat a diet of plants, as opposed to eating other animals. Kangaroos like to eat grass, flowers, leaves, ferns, and moss.  

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Do kangaroos really have a pouch? 

Kangaroos do have pouches! When a mother kangaroo is pregnant, she is only pregnant for about three to five weeks. At this time, she may carry one to four babies. These babies are known as “joeys”. After the joey is born – and at birth, joeys can be as small as a grain of rice! – the baby will be guided to its mother’s pouch where it will gestate for some more time. The joey may gestate for up to a year and a half inside the pouch! 

Inside the pouch, joeys will nurse and go to the bathroom. The mother will have to clean up this mess by sticking her snout in the pouch and using her tongue to clean out the contents!  

Australian kangaroo with a joey in its pouch at sunset
Australian kangaroo with a joey in its pouch at sunset

Kangaroos are part of a group of animals called “marsupials“. Marsupials are animals that have a pouch that they use to keep their young safe. Other marsupials in the animal kingdoms include wallabies, Tasmanian devils, koalas, opossums, and wombats. In total, there are 292 different species of marsupials! Most marsupials live in Australia, like the kangaroo, but some, such as opossums, like in North and South America.  

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Do male kangaroos have pouches? 

Male kangaroos do not have pouches. Only female kangaroos have them because they are the ones who carry joeys. Male kangaroos also cannot produce milk, so they really have no need for a pouch. 

How big are kangaroos? 

Kangaroos are actually the largest marsupials! The biggest member of the kangaroo family is the red kangaroo. The red kangaroo is usually about three to five feet tall. And their tail can add up to three and a half feet to their body length! Additionally, red kangaroos can weigh up to 200 pounds when fully grown. 

Grey kangaroo with young joey
Grey kangaroo with young joey

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How long do kangaroos live? 

There are about 50 different species of kangaroos, and they all have a different lifespan. With that being said, on average, kangaroos live to be between ten and twenty years old.