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Kangaroo Stare :iconokavanga:Okavanga 33 18 Kangaroo Flight :iconokavanga:Okavanga 10 5 Kangaroo Escape :iconokavanga:Okavanga 16 5 Kangaroo Ticks :iconokavanga:Okavanga 12 0 Hideaway :iconokavanga:Okavanga 9 5 Kangaroo Nibbling :iconokavanga:Okavanga 25 6 Joey Suckling :iconokavanga:Okavanga 22 7 Euro Pair :iconokavanga:Okavanga 12 0 Kangaroo Family :iconokavanga:Okavanga 11 0 Lord of All He Surveys :iconokavanga:Okavanga 31 15 Weep Not for Me :iconokavanga:Okavanga 35 17 Bridge of Size :iconokavanga:Okavanga 37 24 Colour Clash :iconokavanga:Okavanga 24 15 Barging Ahead :iconokavanga:Okavanga 24 8 Who's Lookin' at You, Kid :iconokavanga:Okavanga 18 15 Weir-d :iconokavanga:Okavanga 64 28

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Kangaroo Captures

Journal Entry: Fri Mar 24, 2017, 7:57 AM
I was going to start this Journal by telling you all about the taxonomy of kangaroos, how they are part of the Macropodidae family of marsupials, but my head started to hurt with all the strange names and inter-relationships, so I'll just say that on my recent visit to South Australia I came across three types of animal that have very large feet and hop about - macropods - and they were the Western Grey kangaroo, the Red kangaroo, and the Euro, a type of walleroo which is an animal smaller than a kangaroo, but bigger than a wallaby - the smallest type of macropod. It is the hopping and the marsupial nature of these animals that people usually find so odd compared to the four-legged animals like cats, dogs, sheep and bears that we normally encounter. A marsupial is an animal that carries it young in a pouch. Here's a link if you do want to know more about the taxonomy ==> www.livescience.com/27400-kang….

The following shots were taken on safari at the Kangaluna Camp in the Gawler Ranges of South Australia, and at the Rawnsley Park Station in the Flinders Ranges. My identification of the species is tentative as the kangaroos and the euro seem to have similar fur colours, and other characteristic differences can be hidden by poor lighting or vegetation. Please let me know of any corrections. If I am correct, the first image shows a male, female, and joey of Red kangaroos. A joey is the Australian term used for any young animal. Male kangaroos are usually substantially bigger than females and are also identified by the danglely bits, often very large danglely bits! Normally, males just come to females when they want to mate, but females and their joeys will stick around as pairs, such as in the second image, a pair of euros in a hilly region of the Gawler Ranges. Yes, the name for this type of walleroo really is "euro", just like the currency. Formerly, they were known as hill walleroos. Notice the chunk missing from the mother's left ear; our guide was unsure whether this was from an accident, a fight, or a deliberate marking made when she was young.





Kangaroo Family by Okavanga


Euro Pair by Okavanga

Marsupials give birth to a tiny embryonic creature that crawls its way into a pouch where gestation can take up to 6 months or more. The developed joey then learns to hop in and out of the pouch, and is weaned for a further 6 months, see the third image, a mother and joey of the Western Grey species, I think! Kangaroos, walleroos and wallabies are all herbivores, and normally are to be seen bent down to the ground nibbling away at grass etc., but occasionally they pick up longer stems of grass with a fore paw and as seen in the fourth shot.



Joey Suckling by Okavanga  Kangaroo Nibbling by Okavanga

Grass feeding on the ground has lead to an interesting mode of locomotion, so-called  "crawl walking" or pentapedal movement. The two large back legs and feet in macropods cannot operate independently, hence the hopping that is the normal means of movement. When grazing, the kangaroos use their substantial tails as a fifth limb such that they place it on the ground along with the two small fore limbs, lift themselves off the ground and swing forward by a few inches to continue eating.

Every photographer wants to snap a joey in the pouch with its head sticking out, but no luck for me. I did manage the following shot though. I think this is a female Red kangaroo and it is carrying a joey that has just hopped back into the pouch but has forgotten to retract its front legs! So, they are sticking out while the rest of the body is hidden. Living in the wild semi-arid to arid conditions, kangaroos and walleroos are subject to infestation by ticks, as the next image shows - those black marks on the skin.



Hideaway by Okavanga  Kangaroo Ticks by Okavanga


Photographing these animals takes some skill because, for the most part, they come out at dawn and dusk to forage and lie up in the bush during the hot sunny days. Consequently, lighting conditions can be poor for photography, and trees and bushes often obscure shots. Further, while the 'roos will often just stop and stare at you as you approach, they have a habit of taking one mighty leap, turning in mid-air and hopping off. The next image shows that one of a pair has had enough while its companion still stares at me. That leads to the next of the photographer's must get shots - a kangaroo in mid air as it hops. Again, sadly, I didn't quite manage this as I would have liked, as they tend to turn a hop of directly away from you. The next shot is my best effort with both the mother and joey in mid air, just a pity about the angle and the tree.



Kangaroo Escape by Okavanga  Kangaroo Flight by Okavanga

One last point about these macropods: why do they hop and why do they not walk about on all fours like so many other animals? The fossil record apparently shows that millions of years ago, the ancestors did use all fours to move about, and that this form of locomotion evolved. The reason appears to be that hopping is a much more energy efficient process than walking and running. This seems very odd at first sight, but the anatomy of a kangaroo and the other species is such that the large leg muscles and associated tendons and ligaments act as huge springs that allow the animals to hop into the air, releasing energy stored up in the "spring" and allowing that energy to be regained when gravity drops the body back to the ground - the "spring" is reset, so to speak. Walking and running would simply lose energy. Why has this happened? Probably because energy sources, that is food, has always been very scarce in the dry Aussie climate, and that only the most energy efficient species would survive.

Here is one last shot of a Western Grey mother and joey - the moment before they hopped off in the above shot.



Kangaroo Stare by Okavanga

I hope you enjoyed this little hop around macropod territory.

Cheers

David aka Okavanga :iconokavanga:


PS - There are more Australian adventures including some kangaroos here ==>  Victoria's Secrets, Part 1 Animals   
G'day Sports! My name's Digger and I'm a Koala. My ol' friend Okie, as he's known in this part of the world, asked me to guide you through some of the wonders of the State of Victoria here in Australia.
First, a word about language. Your average Australian doesn't talk like "G'day Mate", "How's the sheila", and "My name's Bruce" - Naw, that's all Strine,  and is only spoken by we Koalans and certain odd 
characters from Moonee Ponds. In Victoria, everyone is terribly polite: "How do you do?", "Hello, how are you?", "Very well thank you."  In fact, so much so you might think they were all Pommies!
Another thing about us Aussies - we think our country is great and that we are going to have a fantastic future - no Pommie whinging here.
Anyway, back to the matter in hand. I'm a Koala and we are found throughout most of Victoria. We are often called bears, but we are not - we are marsupials that live in gum trees and


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narutofan89 Featured By Owner 1 day ago  Student General Artist
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