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Healesville Sanctuary

Red Kangaroo

These are popular with visitors to the Sanctuary, especially tourists from overseas who have never seen a kangaroo up close.

Red Kangaroos are classed as ‘least concern’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (on the IUCN ‘red list’). Although the species is not considered to be endangered, individual animals are at risk, particularly from dog attacks, natural disasters and motor vehicles. They are among the more than 2,000 sick and injured native animals treated each year at the Sanctuary’s Australian Wildlife Health Centre. 

Meeting the Red Kangaroos at Healesville Sanctuary is an important way to connect with the animals of Australia, and to learn about the Sanctuary’s conservation programs, especially those aimed at conserving threatened native species. The money you spend helps to support the Sanctuary’s conservation programs and its care of native wildlife, and helps fight species extinction. 

Red Kangaroos are semi-nomadic and can be found across most areas of Central Australia. They show a preference for open plains where shade trees are available such as Mulga and Mallee Shrub. They feed on grasses and other small plants, mostly at night, but also in the early morning and late evening. Although Red Kangaroos are considered common, their numbers can drop in times of drought. During these times they may have to compete with sheep and cattle for food and fall prey to Dingoes as rabbit populations decline. 

Red Kangaroos breed all year round. Females give birth to a single jelly bean-sized ‘joey’, around 33 days after mating, which will climb up its mother’s belly and into the pouch where it begins to suckle from one of the teats. It remains attached and the milk changes to meet its needs as it grows. At about 6 months old, the joey begins to leave the pouch for short periods, when the mother will usually give birth again. The joeys are permanently out of the pouch at about 8 months of age and normally weaned by around 12 months but can continue to suckle for up to 18 months. 


Healesville Sanctuary mourns loss of head of the mob


Healesville Sanctuary is saddened to announce the tragic loss of Reg the Red Kangaroo.

Veterinary staff made the very difficult decision to euthanise the 14 year old kangaroo recently after his health deteriorated following acute arthritis.

19 January 2017
Kangaroos in their new temporary exhibit

Kangaroos on the move at Healesville Sanctuary

Healesville Sanctuary’s Kangaroos were on the hop last week busily moving homes before Christmas. The roos moved into temporary accommodation while their home undergoes major renovations that are due to open in December 2017.

22 December 2016
  • Red Kangaroos are not always red! Males range in colour from pale red to reddish-brown. Females are usually a bluish grey 
  • They can jump up to 9 metres in length and 3 metres in height, and can reach speeds of more than 60km per hour 
  • Females are able to put their pregnancy on hold until conditions are suitable to give birth. This is called ‘embryonic diapause’
  • Females can produce two kinds of milk: one from the teat that the newborn selects, and one from the teat used by the older joey