The kangaroo is a marsupial from the family Macropodidae (macropods, meaning "large foot"). Kangaroos possess powerful hind legs, a long, strong tail, and small front legs. Kangaroos can leap some 30 feet (9 meters) in a single bound, and travel more than 30 miles (48 kilometers) per hour. Kangaroos use their strong tails for balance while jumping. They are the tallest of all marsupials, standing over 6 feet (2 meters) tall.
Kangaroos live in Eastern Australia. They live in small groups called troops or herds (“mobs” by Australians), typically made up of 50 or more animals. If threatened, kangaroos pound the ground with their strong feet in warning. The large kangaroos have adapted much better than the smaller macropods to land clearing for pastoral agriculture and habitat changes brought to the Australian landscape by humans. Many of the smaller species are rare and endangered, while kangaroos are relatively plentiful.
Female kangaroos sport a pouch on their belly, made by a fold in the skin, to cradle baby kangaroos called joeys. Newborn joeys are just one inch long (2.5 centimeters) at birth, or about the size of a grape. At around 4 months, the joey emerges from the pouch for short trips and to graze on grass and small shrubs. At 10 months, the joey is mature enough to leave the pouch for good.