Western Gray Kangaroo Western Gray Kangaroo
Western Gray Kangaroo

Scientific Classification

Common Name
Western gray kangaroo
Genus Species
Macropus (big foot) fuliginosus

Fast Facts

These large, muscular animals are grayish-brown to reddish-brown with a small head, large ears, and a long thick tail used for balance. It also has short forearms, strong hind legs, and long broad back feet for hopping and standing upright.
Female: The females have a pouch used to carry the baby
Approximately 2 m (6.6 ft) long head to tail; 180 to 210 cm (6 to 7 ft.) in height
Male: About 54 kg (121.5 lbs.)
Female: About 28 kg (63 lbs.)
Includes grass and shrubs
Gestation lasts approximately 31 days; usually one joey (offspring) is born. The joey climbs from the birth canal to the pouch in about 3 minutes. It leaves pouch at 8½ months and is independent at 10 months.
Nursing Duration: After leaving the pouch, the joey continues to nurse for another 6 months.
Sexual Maturity
Approximately 2 to 3 years
Life Span
9 to 13 years
Southern Australia
Inhabits grasslands near water and with a nearby forest or woodland
Global: Unknown
IUCN: Species not listed; subspecies M. f. fulginosus listed as Lower Risk/Near Threatened
CITES: Not listed
USFWS: Not listed

Fun Facts

  1. In their native country of Australia, western grey kangaroo females are known as does or fliers, the males as boomers or stinkers due to their strong, curry-like smell, and the young as joeys. Kangaroos live in groups called mobs.
  2. These kangaroos are the most vocal of the three large kangaroo species. The mothers communicate to the joeys with a series of clicks. When defensive, they will growl like a dog.
  3. The western greys have very close social bonds, keeping family connections for years. A daughter often stays close to her mother even after she has a joey of her own.
  4. Young kangaroos sometimes box playfully to pass the time. Adult males box to determine dominance, with the strongest male becoming the head of the mob.
  5. While running at speeds of about 19 kph (12 mph), these kangaroos are able to reach 56 kph (35 mph) in short bursts.

Ecology and Conservation

Since the late 18th century, human settlement has drastically changed kangaroo numbers and distribution. Loss of many grassland areas from grazing domestic cattle and introduced species such as rabbits, mean negative effects on native Australian species such as kangaroos.

Before European settlement, native Aboriginal peoples utilized the kangaroos for meat and hide.

While many species have decreases in number due to human population and introduction of predators such as the red fox and domestic cats and dos, some species' populations have actually risen, causing kangaroos in some areas to be considered pests. Farmers concerned about damage to fences and crops often cull them under license in some areas.


Macdonald, David. Editor. 1984. The Encyclopedia of Mammals. Vol. 2. George Allen and Unwin, London.

Strahan, Ronald. 1983. The Australian Museum Complete Book of Australian Mammals. Angus and Robertson Pub., London.

Australia Department of Conservation and Land Management. http://www.calm.wa.gov.au/plants_animals/mammal_kangaroo.html