#CreatureFeature – Macropus fuliginosus (Western Grey Kangaroo)

Western grey kangaroos are one of four species of large kangaroo that inhabit Western Australia. Males can weigh up to 70 kilograms, with females only weighing up to 34 kilograms. Their colouring is a light grey –brown with paler undersides and sometimes are seen with white markings on their forehead with finely haired muzzles.

The species is widespread across the southern part of WA from south of Shark Bay to Laverton and eastwards along the Nullarbor Plain. They are known to inhabit a range of habitats including open forests, coastal heathlands, and Mallee which typically boasts high rainfall.

Typically, Western grey kangaroos graze on grass, herbs or native shrubs and their gut systems use micro-organisms to break down any fibrous plant material by fermentation.

Breeding season for Western grey kangaroos spans from late November to early February each year. Joey’s are born at a very early stage of their physical development and are nicknamed ‘pinkies’ due to their lack of hair. At birth, joeys weigh around 0.8 grams and will climb from the birth canal to their mother’s pouch, where they attach themselves to a teat to feed.

Joeys will stay inside their mother’s pouch for around 10 and a half months but will continue to suckle from outside the pouch for an additional six months. Adult female kangaroos come into oestrous and will mate again after the previous joey has left the pouch.

Unlike most kangaroos, Western grey kangaroos will respond to their environment, ceasing breeding during drought and recommencing when conditions improve.

Source: https://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/images/documents/plants-animals/animals/kangaroos/fauna_note_29_western_grey_kangaroo.pdf

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