Essay, 3 pages (750 words)

Kangaroo adaptations

A kangaroo is a marsupial from the family Macropodidae (macropods, meaning ‘large foot’). In common use the term is used to describe the largest species from this family, especially those of the genus Macropus, red kangaroo, antilopine kangaroo, eastern grey kangaroo and western grey kangaroo. [1] Kangaroos are endemic to the country of Australia. The smaller macropods are found in Australia and New Guinea. Kangaroos have large, powerful hind legs, large feet adapted for leaping, a long muscular tail for balance, and a small head.

Like most marsupials, female kangaroos have a pouch called a marsupium in which joeys complete postnatal development. A kangaroo lives in a group. For the most part, the members of the group get along together, and protect each other. In the mating season, however, the males box with each other. They claw each other’s chests and kick each other’s abdomens. The winner will have a higher chance of mating with more females. One of the most intriguing animals is the kangaroo and as you will discover, kangaroo adaptations are quite extensive.

This animal is so amazing. Pregnancy – During the female’s adult life, she is pregnant the majority of the time. However, as a part of kangaroo adaptations, when drought hits Australia, her body has the ability to freeze or suspend embryo development indefinitely. Once food, water, and other sources needed to grow and survive become available, the embryo can again grow. Kangaroo Milk – Another one of the amazing kangaroo adaptations is that the mother actually produces two different types of milk.

One type of milk is used for the very young embryo that remains attached to the teat whereas the other type of milk is for the maturing Joey that spends time in and outside of the pouch. Since baby kangaroos have different needs, her body has been able to adapt to these needs and produce different milk. There are kangaroo adaptations specific to being energy efficient. The design of the body, especially the hind legs, allows the kangaroo to move very fast for long distances while using little energy. In fact, with the way the back leg moves, when the Kangaroo is hopping, the lungs are being refilled with each hop.

In addition, with the legs working much like tightly coiled springs that release, hopping quickly for long distances expends far less energy than other animals that use four legs. Swimming – While much of Australia is prone to drought, some areas can become flooded quickly. A misconception about this animal is that it is a poor swimmer, but in truth, it can swim very well. Adapting To Changes In Temperatures – To handle the hot temperatures of Australia, the kangaroo will hunt for food, move about the land, and remain more active during the early morning and late afternoon hours when the climate is cool.

Once temperatures begin to climb, the kangaroo will find a shaded area to rest. Kangaroo Teeth – Because the kangaroo eats very coarse grass as a primary diet, the teeth wear down over time, to the point of eventually falling out. However, the Kangaroo does not walk around toothless. Instead, the back teeth simply move forward while new teeth grow. Baby Kangaroos – Brand new kangaroo babies actually have forelimbs that are developed to the point they can climb inside the mother’s pouch and begin suckling. Considering these babies are born between 31 and 36 days, this is quite remarkable.

Once a baby becomes a toddler, it is called a Joey, which will stay in the mother’s pouch up to 320 days after which they begin to take short trips outside for exploration. However, baby kangaroos continue to feed off mom for about 18 months. Hearing – The last of the kangaroo adaptations we wanted to mention has to do with hearing. If you have seen a kangaroo in person, you would have noticed that the ears are constantly twitching. This is not because of an itch or being annoyed by insects, but it’s actually using its ears to detect sound and determine its direction.

The kangaroo habitat is traditionally woods and bushland, although grassland, forests, mallee scrubs, coastal heathland and scrubland are also home to them. They can adapt to a range of temperatures including sub-tropical and sub-alpine regions. They are herbivores which means they are only going to eat grass. Kangaroos are the only large animals to use hopping as a means of locomotion. Kangaroos are shy and retiring by nature, and in normal circumstances present no threat to humans.

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