Frequently Asked Questions

Having made this website, I get a lot of questions about kangaroos. I do make an effort to answer most questions, but I am only doing this website as a hobby and I only have limited resources as far as time and energy are concerned. In the hope of cutting down on the time I spend on this extraneous activity, I am compiling this FAQ. Again, due to time constraints, not all of the answers will be as detailed as I would like, but I may go back and expand some answers later.

Q: I need advice on taking of an injured/orphaned kangaroo.
A: I can't give you veterinary or other care advice. The animal rescue organisations listed on my Links page should be able to help you.

Q: Do male kangaroos have pouches?
A: No. There is no male marsupial of any species that has a pouch1. The pouch is part of the female reproductive anatomy.

Q: Do kangaroos have two penises?
A: To the best of my knowledge, there is no mammal that has two penises. The reason this question arises is because most marsupials have a bifurcated penis, which means they have two tips on their penis. Many wallabies also have a bifurcated penis, but interestingly, neither of the two largest species of kangaroos have this unusual feature. The males of both Grey and Red kangaroos have only one tip on their penis.

Q: Is it true that female kangaroos have three vaginas and two wombs?
A: Female kangaroos have paired lateral vaginae, which transport the sperm to the womb, but have a midline pseudovaginal canal for giving birth. In most marsupials, the psuedovaginal canal opens and closes with each birth. The pouch is often called the "second womb" because most of the joey's development occurs there.

Q: What is the natural lifespan of a kangaroo?
A: This question is actually harder to answer than most of you would think, because it is difficult to judge how long a kangaroo lives in the wild. We can make estimates judging by the state of their teeth. In good conditions, the larger kangaroos can live into their twenties.

Q: What noises do kangaroos make?
A: If you've ever seen the TV show "Skippy" you may have heard Skippy going "tch tch tch". I have never heard a kangaroo make that sound. A male will cluck at a female to reassure her when he's trying to mate with her and kangaroos of either gender will growl preparatory to fighting. I've tried to get sound recordings of this, but so far without any luck, but note the movies of a common wallaroo and the Whiptail Wallabies mating I have on my movies page.

Q: I want to buy a kangaroo.
A: I do not sell kangaroos. Nor would I tell you where to get one from if I knew.

Q: I am doing a school project on kangaroos. May I use some of your photos?
A: Yes, as long as you acknowledge my site as the source.

Q: How do kangaroos control their population from season to season and year to year?
A: In short, kangaroo populations fluctuate in accordance with the conditions. Female kangaroos, after they have been mated, can delay the implantation of the embryo for a period of up to many months if conditions are unfavourable. This process is called embryonic diapause. Because Australia is a dry continent, the amount of rainfall is the most powerful determining factor for their birth rates and death rates. During times of drought, many kangaroos die from starvation and dehydration. During times of plenty, the kangaroos can take advantage of the favourable conditions and build up their numbers. This cycle of drought and rain is mostly only relevant to red kangaroos which live in the inland. Along the coastlines, the rainfall tends to be more consistent. However, many red kangaroos can take advantage of watering sites intended for sheep and cattle and thereby keep their numbers higher than they otherwise would be able to.

Bibliography/Further Reading

Dawson, T. J. 1998, Kangaroos: Biology of the Largest Marsupials, University of New South Wales Press, Sydney.

Flannery, T. 2004, Country, The Text Publishing Company, Melbourne.

Strahan, R., (ed.) 1995, The Mammals of Australia, 2nd edn, Reed Books, Sydney.

Paddle, R. 2000, The Last Tasmanian Tiger: The History and Extinction of the Thylacine, Cambridge University Press, London.

Walton, D.W. & Richardson, B.J. (eds) 1989, Fauna of Australia Volume 1B, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.

1 This is not strictly true. There are two marsupial species where the male is known to have a pouch (the extinct Tasmanian tiger and the South American water opossum), but these are scrotal pouches designed to hold the scrotum.

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