Eastern Grey Kangaroo

Eastern Grey Kangaroo

Forester kangaroo, Great grey kangaroo

Macropus giganteus
Population size
Life Span
7-20 years
Top speed
km/h mph 
kg lbs 
cm inch 

The Eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) is a marsupial found only in Australia. It is the second largest and heaviest living marsupial and native land mammal in Australia. It is also known as the Great grey kangaroo and the Forester kangaroo.


The Eastern grey is easy to recognize: its soft grey coat is distinctive, and it is usually found in moister, more fertile areas than the red. Red kangaroos, though sometimes grey-blue in color, have a totally different face than eastern grey kangaroos. Red kangaroos have distinctive markings in black and white beside their muzzles and along the sides of their face. Eastern grey kangaroos do not have these markings, and their eyes seem large and wide open. They have a powerful tail that is over 1 m (3 ft 3 in) long in adult males. Large males of this species are more heavily built and muscled than the lankier Red kangaroo and can occasionally exceed normal dimensions.




The Eastern grey kangaroo is widely distributed across eastern mainland Australia, from northeast Queensland to South Australia in southeast, and southern Victoria, including eastern Tasmania, and it has been introduced to Three Hummock Island and Maria Island. This kangaroo inhabits areas that have higher rainfall, including woodland, mallee scrub, dry sclerophyll forest, shrubland, and heathland. It needs trees or scrubs for cover, along with open areas for feeding. It can occur also in introduced grassland, agricultural land, and other modified landscapes.

Eastern Grey Kangaroo habitat map
Eastern Grey Kangaroo habitat map
Eastern Grey Kangaroo
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Habits and Lifestyle

Being a social species, Eastern grey kangaroos usually live in mobs or small groups, which include one dominant male, 2-3 females and their young, and 2-3 young males. They spend most of the day in the shade, moving out at dusk, and feeding until dawn. The adults communicate with their young and with each other using clucking noises. When they are alarmed, they can make a guttural cough, also used when males are warning each other, fighting, or displaying dominance. Grey kangaroos stamp on the ground with their hind legs when they sense danger, which, as well as the guttural noise, issues an alarm sound that can be heard from a great distance

Group name

Diet and Nutrition

Eastern grey kangaroos are herbivores (graminivores, folivores). They graze on grasses, leaves, herbs, and other low, shrub-like vegetation.

Mating Habits

Year-round with a peak in summer
36 days
1 joey
18 months
jill, roo
jack, boomer

Eastern grey kangaroos are polygynous animals. Adult males take part in ritualized fights with rivals, and the dominant male being the most likely the only one to mate with the available females. Breeding continues throughout the year, peaking in summer. The young is born following a gestation period of 36 days. At about 9 months old, the joey leaves its mother's pouch for short periods, exploring the world with very brief little hops around the mother. Joey leaves its mother's pouch at 11 months old, though it is still suckling. When the joey is 18 months old it is fully weaned and leaves the pouch permanently. Females are reproductively mature at about 20 to 22 months, and males at 43 months.


Population threats

The Eastern grey kangaroo is not under any major threats. However, it is regarded as a pest in many areas and is killed under license. It is also hunted commercially for meat and leather. Its population is more limited in some areas, particularly in locations that are densely settled, and there is some doubt whether they will be able to sustain present hunting levels. Some locally abundant populations are culled by state wildlife agencies to reduce the impact of grazing on native vegetation, as well as to improve animal welfare. More concern has been expressed over the subspecies Forester Kangaroo, these animals being threatened by agricultural clearing, which reduces their habitat.

Population number

According to the Australian Government Department of the Environment, the total number of the Eastern grey kangaroo is 16,057,783 individuals. Currently, this species’ numbers are stable and it is classified as least concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List.

Ecological niche

Being grazing animals, Eastern grey kangaroos control the spread and growth of grasses and other foliage. This could result in soil degradation if it is left unchecked, but kangaroo population numbers are not large enough to be a serious ecological hazard.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • Kangaroos are marsupials, belonging to the animal family of macropodidae (macropus), which has the literal meaning of "great footed" or "big footed".
  • Eastern grey kangaroos move by hopping, usually going about 9 meters every hop.
  • The legs of these kangaroos are designed in such a way that they use less energy the quicker they move.
  • A male kangaroo is a boomer, a female is called a flyer, and a baby is called a joey.
  • A common myth regarding the kangaroo's name in English is that "kangaroo" means "I dont understand you" in Guugu Yimithirr, the language of aboriginal people who live in the area.

Coloring Pages


1. Eastern Grey Kangaroo Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_grey_kangaroo
2. Eastern Grey Kangaroo on The IUCN Red List site - http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/41513/0

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