Western Grey Kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus)
The Western Grey Kangaroo is one of the largest kangaroos in Australia. It weighs 28-54kgs and can grow up to 1.3mtrs high. The male can grow to twice the size of the female. It has thick, coarse fur with colours ranging from pale grey to brown. The fur on it's neck, chest and belly are a paler colour.
They feed at night, mainly on grasses, leafy shrubs and low trees. Living in groups of up to 15, males compete for females during the breeding season, with a "boxing competition". They lock arms and try to push each other over. Usually, only the dominate male in the group mates. The gestation period is 30-31 days, after which, the baby joey attaches itself to a teat in the pouch for 13-150days.
Did you know?
The Kangaroo is the most recognisable symbol of Australia.
It is the worlds largest marsupial and most species are found only in Australia, however, there are some smaller species found in Papua New Guinea.
They move by hopping and are the only animal that can do this.
They can only move forward.
The Kangaroo and the Porpoise
Once upon a time, in the time called Dreamtime, there was a Kangaroo and a Porpoise. Both of these animals lived in the country of what is now the Northern Territory in the time of our ancestors, and were able to talk, laugh, argue, love and hate just like us. They both used to hunt for bush tucker (things to eat) - lizards and fruit, berries and birds.
One day, Kangaroo said to Porpoise. "If I look after your baby while you go hunting, will you look after my baby while I go hunting? That way, we can both hunt for enough to eat, and we can feed our babies". Porpoise thought this was an excellent idea. So she stayed with her baby and Kangaroo's baby, and looked after them while Kangaroo went hunting.
When Kangaroo came back, she found the Porpoise had looked after her baby very well. She was happy because she had hunted well and had found lots of bush tucker to eat.
So then Kangaroo agreed to look after Porpoise's baby while she went hunting. While Porpoise was away, Kangaroo looked at the two babies. Her baby was small and ugly, like a little frog, while Porpoise's baby was smooth and beautiful. Kangaroo decided not to give Porpoise back her baby, but to keep it for herself.
After hunting lots of bush tucker, Porpoise came back. "Give me back my baby" she said to Kangaroo. "She is hungry and crying for milk". But Kangaroo refused to give her back. "I want to keep your baby!" This made Porpoise very angry.
Porpoise tried to snatch her baby back, but Kangaroo would not let her. She tucked Porpoise's baby down into her pouch. "She is crying for me, not you" she said. "She wants to stay with me, and be my daughter". "No! She wants me. She wants her milk"' cried Porpoise, trying to get her baby back from Kangaroo.
Kangaroo wanted Porpoise to go away and leave her the baby. She took a stick and hit Porpoise on the top of the head. This made a hole in Porpoise's head. It also made Porpoise very angry indeed. Porpose took a stick of her own and hit Kangaroo across the arms breaking both of them.
Now Kangaroo had two broken arms and she could not pick up her own small ugly baby. She hopped away as fast as she could on her long back legs, carrying Porpoise's baby in her pouch. Porpoise was left behind. She was really sad and angry too. "I dont want Kangaroo's baby!" She picked up Kangaroo's baby and threw him into the Pandanus trees.
Then Porpoise ran away looking for Kangaroo and her own baby. In her sadness, she came to the sea. She ran into the water and started to swim about under the water. When she came up to the surface, she spurted water out through the hole in her head. "I like this"' she said. "Now I will live in the sea, and no-one will be able to get my babies".
So from that day to this, Porpoise has lived in the sea and spurted water out of the hole in her head that Kangaroo made with a stick.
And from that day to this, Kangaroo has hopped around on her long back legs holding her little bent and broken arms in front of her. And because she cannot pick up her baby, she has to crawl into her pouch and stay there. They baby still looks like a porpoise.
As for the ugly little baby that Porpoise threw away, he has turned into a little white frog that is still living there in the Pandanus trees to this day.