Red kangaroos are marsupials endemic to Australia. Although they are called red kangaroos, only the males have red fur. Females have bluish-gray fur, and are typically smaller, lighter and faster than the males. Red kangaroos can only hop as a means of getting around, but they can hop as many as 30 feet forward and reach significant speeds of as much as 35 mph. These marsupials gather in groups called mobs and prefer open grasslands and deserts.
The red kangaroo is an herbivore and subsists on grass and vegetation; therefore, it does not prey on other living creatures. They are nocturnal feeders. Since they prefer drier grasslands, sometimes it can be tricky for them to access water sources. However, red kangaroos can survive for long periods of time without water because they extract moisture from the vegetation they consume.
One of the red kangaroo's predators is arguably the most dangerous animal in the world: the human. Red kangaroos looking to graze will often hop over fences and find themselves victims of sheep farmers who shoot them to keep the marsupials from damaging their crops or consuming their sheep's grass and vegetation. Moreover, great numbers of red kangaroos are killed every year for their skins and meat.
The red kangaroo's most notable predator is the dingo. These wild dogs, likewise endemic to Australia, are so numerous they're considered pests. Farmers erect fences in an attempt to keep them at bay, and red kangaroos who find themselves on the opposite side of those fences -- and not shot by farmers -- might just be lucky enough to escape them.
The Tasmanian devil was once a notorious predator of the red kangaroo, but their numbers are so few now the devils no longer pose a threat to them. Notable for their aggression, Tasmanian devils suffered a significant decline in their numbers during the 1990s because of devil facial tumor disease, a form of rare contagious cancer. Eagles and foxes pose no thread to adult red kangaroos, but they do sometimes prey on joeys, the red kangaroo's young.
Vivian Gomez contributes to Retailing Today, the Daily Puppy, Paw Nation and other websites. She's covered the New York Comic Con for NonProductive since 2009 and writes about everything from responsible pet ownership to comic books to the manner in which smart phones are changing the way people shop. Gomez received her Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Pace University.