In the kangaroo family, not counting already extinct and extinct, about 50 species. The smallest of them, those that are slightly larger than the rats, are called rat kangaroos, the middle ones are called wallabies, and the largest (those with hind feet longer than 25 centimeters) are real kangaroo.
Large kangaroos are identical at first glance. There are three different species. Gray forest kangaroos: the end of the muzzle between their nostrils, and around them, covered with hair like a hare, the body is gray-brown, the belly is dirty white, and the end of the tail is dark. Red steppe: the end of the muzzle between the nostrils is covered with wool only until the middle nostril, the head is bluish-gray, on the cheeks, closer to the nostrils, in one oblique black stripe, the body of males is red, the females are gray, but there are males all gray, and females are red (at the western subspecies), the tail end is light. In mature males, during the breeding season, the chest is purple - from special secretions of the skin glands. And the third view is mountainous kangaroo, or vollar. Their bodies are more massive, their hair is thick and rough, end of muzzle between nostrils hairless, hairless, like a deer. The head and body of males are dark gray, but some races are reddish-brown. The female is lighter. The end of the tail in males is black, in females it is light.
For a long, almost a whole year, until he grows up and learns to run, a large and long-legged kangaroo is hiding with his mother in a bag.
The gray, red kangaroos and vollars are almost equally large and equally deserve (albeit somewhat exaggerated, but long accepted) giant names: since of all modern marsupials, their growth is the most impressive. But the red kangaroo is perhaps a little larger than the others: the length from the nose to the tip of the tail is often 2.5-2.7 meters. Gray kangaroos and vollars are on average slightly less. However, the length of the skin of an old male gray kangaroo was recorded, for a local - a boomer, about 3 meters. And they say about redheads: in the old days, males with a length of three and a quarter meters came across. Maybe it was some time ago, now there are no such kangaroos in Australia.
In addition to humans, worms and sand fleas, which, biting into the eyes, often completely blind the poor animals, the giant jerboas have few: dingoes, foxes brought from Europe, and a wedge-tailed eagle. But these enemies usually dare to attack only young and sick giant kangaroos. Healthy and adults are saved by legs, famous for both playfulness and power of impact. A kangaroo is jumping on two legs at a speed of about fifty kilometers per hour, covering a distance of six to seven meters with each jump. On the slopes, down the slope, a giant kangaroo can jump up to twelve meters, and for an old male, the fence is two and a half and even three meter tall though from labor, but overcome.
The force of impact of the back leg of a large kangaroo is so great that, in some cases, people fell with broken skulls. Recently on the outskirts of Sydney suffered from of this leg is a policeman who helped to knit a rabid kangaroo running here. Ellis Trofton says: not only giant kangaroos, but also large wallabies suddenly come into spontaneous rage and then hit hard. Therefore, he does not recommend allowing children to caress and feed the kangaroo in zoos.
It is interesting to mention here again (this is already wrote) that the kangaroo has an interesting method of protection from hunting dogs and dingoes. When they persecute them too hard, our “jerboas” run to where they know there is a lake or a pond. Climb chest into the water, the dogs in their reckless courage behind them. Then the kangaroo, firmly resting its natural tripod (two hind legs and tail) in the muddy bottom, grabs the dog front paws and drowns: holds her head under water until the dog drowns. It happened, if the dog did not dare to jump into the water, but yanked from the shore, the “amazing kangaroo” jumped out of the water, grabbed it and pulled it into the water.
Big Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus)
Once, this happened, however, a long time ago, a young colonist, who still did not know the kangaroo, decided to hunt for an old gray boomer. The case ended with the finale we know. Kangaroo drowned the dog. Then the furious hunter, as he later admitted, “decided to smash the kangaroo’s head with the butt of a gun” and boldly rushed into the pond. But the kangaroo contrived and dipped the hunter once and twice, and three, and if it hadn’t arrived for help soon, he would have probably choked. Pulled him in every case, unconscious.
In captivity, large kangaroos lived for ten years. Obviously, their natural longevity is about fifteen years.
Males of a red kangaroo of bright wine red color or elegant smoky blue, swift in elastic, as if soaring, jumping, earned here the nickname "blue birds". Their living space is wider than that of others: almost the entire continent, with the exception of only the extreme western and eastern coastal areas and moist tropical forests in the east and north. This is a flat, steppe and desert animal. In Australia, the red kangaroo occupies, as biologists say, the same ecological niche that and steppe antelopes of Africa. He roams in small herds (from a dozen to a hundred animals of different ages) in searching for grass-rich land that herders still left at his disposal. The redhead is less wild and angry at humans than the other two giant kangaroos. Namely, gray and vollara. Gray giant - mostly forest. These kangaroos live (a little of them are left!) In the extreme east and southwest of Australia, in Tasmania and on the island of Kangaroo, not far away.
Vollaru - the most evil, stubborn and dangerous in the fray of all four-legged Australia. They are strong, perhaps even stocky, the hind legs of the Vollar are shorter than those of the gray and red kangaroos, but are thicker, and their blow is very strong. Defending themselves, the vollara and teeth are put into action and claws. In captivity, they are uninviting and pounding neighbors ruthlessly. Several subspecies of Vollaru live in the foothills and rocky mountains on the east, west, and northwest coasts, and one species lives in the mountainous regions of Central Australia. Usually they hide in rocks during the day, on which they climb very cleverly, and at night they graze on plateaus and meadows: they eat grass, leaves, shoots. They live long without water. When their thirst languishes, they bite the bark of young trees and shrubs.
A smaller kangaroo lives in the vicinity of the vollar - mountain wallabies. The feet of their hind legs are perfectly adapted for life in the mountains: rough and lined with thick hair. On the two legs, not helping themselves with their forepaws at all, wallaby jumping on such sheer twists that spirit captures. Rocks are polished in places with polish soles. When the enemy overtakes, the mountain wallabies, without hesitation, jump from the run to the trees, as high as possible on a fork or branch, and with their big toes they firmly embrace them.
When everything is calm around, they like to bask in the sun for hours, from time to time talking with relatives on a wireless telegraph, the same type as rabbits and hares. They knock on the ground with their paws, and this means: “How do you live?” If someone uninvited invades the boundaries of their possessions, with the same signals, only louder and more alarming, they warn their neighbors: “Be vigilant!”
The worst enemy of mountain wallabies, except for man and his dog, is a small python who lives in the same place as they are.