The Eastern Grey Kangaroo's fur is woolly and grey-brown in colour, and they have a small head with big ears. Their tail can grow up to 4 feet long which is very helpful for balancing and standing up straight. An Eastern Grey Kangaroo can live anywhere from 15-20 years of age in the wild. A big male can measure up to 2.8 meters from his nose to the tip of his tail, and can weigh up to 66kg. Females are much smaller only reaching approximately 32kg.
Eastern Grey Kangaroos can be found living on the open grassland, open woodland and forested coastal areas of eastern Australia and Tasmania.
Eastern Grey Kangaroos are herbivores and predominately a grazing animal eating mainly shrubs and grass. They feed mostly at night and early in the morning. During the day, Eastern Grey Kangaroos lie under shaded trees or in scrapes they have dug. This is also where they sleep.
Breeding occurs throughout the year but more births occur in the warmer summer months. A baby kangaroo is called a joey. A joey is born 33-38 days after his/her parents mate. The tiny embryonic kangaroo emerges from its mother's body and slowly climbs up her abdomen and into her pouch. When the joey is first born it weighs under a gram and is as tiny as 15 millimetres. Once born the joey will stay in its Mum's pouch for up to 8 months. At this age the joey will begin to start exploring and go for very short little hops around out of Mum's pouch.
The joey will still be able to fit into its mothers pouch until it is around one year old, but will only try getting back in when he/she is cold or scared. When the joey finally does becomes too big for Mum's pouch she will refuse to let him in. By this stage, Mum may already have another little joey suckling on her teat.
Eastern Grey Kangaroo Profiles
Here at Australia Zoo, we have very special member in our Macropod family, Ivory. Born on 15 January 2004, Ivory is an Eastern Grey Kangaroo and as you can see she is not very grey at all-she is more white in colour!
The reason for this is that Ivory has a genetic trait known as leucism. Leucism occurs due to a recessive gene found in the DNA of animals that stops them from producing certain pigmentation in either their fur or skin. While this condition can be found in most animal species, it is extremely rare, with only 1 in every 10,000 being leucistic.
Australia Zoo is lucky enough though to have two more leucistic animals-a saltwater crocodile named Casper and a reticulated python named Jenny.
When you next visit Australia Zoo, come say hi to Ivory, she is not that hard to find!