The Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus) is the largest of all kangaroos, the largest mammal native to Australia, and the largest extant marsupial. It is found across mainland Australia, avoiding only the more fertile areas in the south, the east coast, and the northern rainforests.
This species is a very large kangaroo with long, pointed ears and a squared-off muzzle. Males have short, red-brown fur, fading to pale buff below and on the limbs. Females are smaller than males and are blue-grey with a brown tinge, pale grey below, although arid zone females are coloured more like males. It has two forelimbs with small claws, two muscular hind-limbs, which are used for jumping, and a strong tail which is often used to create a tripod when standing upright.
The red kangaroo ranges throughout western and central Australia. Its range encompasses scrubland, grassland, and desert habitats. It typically inhabits open habitats with some trees for shade.
Red kangaroos live in groups of 2–4 members. The most common groups are females and their young. Larger groups can be found in densely populated areas and females are usually with a male. Membership of these groups is very flexible, and males (boomers) are not territorial, fighting only over females (flyers) that come into heat. Males develop proportionately much larger shoulders and arms than females. Most agonistic interactions occur between young males, which engage in ritualised fighting known as boxing. They usually stand up on their hind limbs and attempt to push their opponent off balance by jabbing him or locking forearms. If the fight escalates, they will begin to kick each other. Using their tail to support their weight, they deliver kicks with their powerful hind legs. Compared to other kangaroo species, fights between red kangaroo males tend to involve more wrestling. Fights establish dominance relationships among males, and determine who gets access to estrous females. Alpha males make agonistic behaviours and more sexual behaviours until they are overthrown. Displaced males live alone and avoid close contact with others.
- Shelter: Grass Umbrella, Large Stable, Small Stable
- Enrichment: Cardboard Box, Salt Lick
- Animal Food: Grass, Hay