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What Do Kangaroos Eat? - Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

Did you know that some kangaroos can grow to over seven feet tall? Is there something special in their diet that helps them grow to be so large? Read this lesson about what kangaroos eat to find out!

What Are Kangaroos?

Kangaroos are odd-looking mammals that live in Australia. All kangaroos are marsupials, which means they have pouches that are used to carry their babies. There are four main types of kangaroos: red kangaroos, eastern grey kangaroos, western grey kangaroos, and antilopine kangaroos.

All kangaroos are herbivores.
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All kangaroos eat only plants, so they are considered herbivores. Because they live in different habitats, each species of kangaroo has a slightly different diet, but none of them eat meat.

Special Teeth

Because kangaroos eat mostly grasses, their teeth are specially designed for this. The front teeth of a kangaroo are sharp so that they can be used for cutting off grass. Their back teeth are molars, which are flat and are used for grinding up the grass.

The grass that kangaroos eat is abrasive, which means that it has a rough texture. This roughness wears away at the front teeth so much that they get worn down and fall out. When that happens, the back teeth actually move forward to replace them, and new teeth grow in the back!

Kangaroo Diets

Red Kangaroos

The red kangaroo is the largest kangaroo in the world. They're even taller than people! A red kangaroo can grow up to seven feet tall, and they can weigh up to 200 pounds. They live in desert areas in central Australia where there is not much rainfall.

Red kangaroos eat grasses, shrubs, and herbs. They especially like to eat newly sprouted green grasses. Red kangaroos have been known to travel great distances to find food when it is scarce. They can survive with very little water, because the plants that they eat help provide them with water during dry spells.

Eastern Grey Kangaroos

Eastern Grey Kangaroos
eastern

The eastern grey kangaroo is the kangaroo that most people picture when they think of a kangaroo. They are seen the most because they live in the areas of Australia where there are the most people.

Eastern grey kangaroos eat mostly grasses, especially young green grasses. They live in woodland areas and will also eat fungi, shrubs, and other plants found in the woods. They are nocturnal, which means they come out mostly at night, and this is also when they eat.

Western Grey Kangaroos

The western grey kangaroo is also very large, but not quite as large as the red kangaroo. Their habitat is the southern and southwestern parts of Australia, where they like to live in grassland areas with a forest nearby.

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