Eastern Grey Kangaroos are marsupial mammals that belongs to a small group called macropods. They are one of the largest kangaroo species and have soft, thick, grey-brown fur, paler on the underparts, with a finely haired muzzle, and dark tips to the paws, feet and tail. They have a small head with big ears. The male is much larger than the female. They are able to travel at great speed (over 50 kph) using the powerful, enlarged hindquarters for leaping, aided by the long tail (over 1m in length) which acts as a balance and rudder. They are also good swimmers.
Distribution and habitat
They are found across eastern mainland Australia, from northeast Queensland to southeast South Australia and southern Victoria and Tasmania. They like to live in dense scrubs and forests. Being nocturnal, large ‘mobs’ of 20 or more will gather at dusk to feed where food is most abundant.
They are herbivorous, favouring grasses, preferring to eat young green shoots high in protein, but will also eat a range of plants.
Life expectancy and breeding
They usually give birth in summer to a single young (although twins are sometimes recorded). Weighing just over 0.8 grams at birth the ‘joey’ is born at an early stage of development, after a gestation period of just 36 days. Tiny, naked and blind, the newborn climbs through the female’s fur and into the forward-facing pouch, where it attaches to a teat to undergo the rest of its development emerging after about 9 months. The young is weaned at around 18 months. Females reach sexual maturity between 20 to 22 months and males at 43 months. Lifespan: 15-20 years of age in the wild (up to 25 years in captivity).