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Kangaroos are one of the native animals of Australia. Those who are not familiar with these animals may not know that these animals consist of various species, with red kangaroos as the largest species of kangaroo found. However, do you know why kangaroo is national animal of Australia?
In this article, we will discuss a glimpse of these magnificent animals and why Australia chose them as a national symbol.
A Glimpse of Kangaroos and Their Species
Kangaroos are native animals of Australia and New Guinea. Quite different from the Koala that was recently listed as endangered, the population of Kangaroos is still thriving, although it also experienced a decline in recent years.
In 2013, 53.2 million kangaroos lived in commercial harvest areas in Australia. However, the number decreased to 42.8 million in 2019.
The term kangaroos are often used to refer to the largest species of this Macropodidae family, such as the red kangaroo, eastern and western gray kangaroo, and antilopine kangaroo. The smaller size is usually called wallabies, while the intermediate size is called wallaroos.
Between this plenty of variety, the red kangaroo is chosen as the national animal of Australia.
Why Were Kangaroos Chosen as The Symbol of Australia?
Kangaroos were first recorded in 1770 when James Cook and his crew came to Australia. In 1773, Endeavour’s voyage published the official account of the journey, which also includes an illustration of a kangaroo. The European audiences were captivated by this exotic animal, and not long after, they were used to symbolize Australia.
The official national animal of Australia is the red kangaroo which can grow up to as high as 2 meters and as heavy as 90 kilograms. Within the last 2 centuries, this animal has been used to represent Australia, and it appears on the emblem, Coat of Arms, tourism logo, coins, stamps, Defence Force, and so on.
Australia’s Coat of Arms includes a kangaroo and emu bird holding a shield. Aside from being exotic and indigenous to the continent, there is another reason why kangaroo is national animal of Australia.
The kangaroo here was chosen because it cannot move backward easily. Due to these characteristics, the kangaroo symbolizes the nation’s ideology of moving forward.
Interesting Facts About Kangaroos
Now that you know why this animal was chosen as the national symbol of Australia, here are some reasons that make this animal even more interesting.
Their Pouch is Not a Pocket at All
Cartoons sometimes depicted kangaroo’s pouches as front pockets. However, this is not the case at all. Their pouch is more like a small hole for baby kangaroos to climb and stay in until they’re older and able to leave.
Their Teeth can Regrow
Kangaroos’ teeth can regrow. When they fall out, the teeth will continually be replaced. This is a rare mammal trait. Only elephants and manatees have the same trait as kangaroos.
Kangaroos are Fighter
Kangaroos love to fight over anything. They would fight over water or females. When they fight, they will stand tall on their hind legs and use their paws to punch each other, almost like boxing.
Accidents Involving Kangaroos are Common
When you visit the outback in Australia, you will see a lot of kangaroo warning signs. This is because accidents involving kangaroos are very common and can cause serious damage to the car, considering that they are heavy and can hop as fast as 50 km per hour.
5. Experts Encouraged Australian to Eat Kangaroos
Several researchers mentioned that kangaroos emit less methane than cows. That is why Australians are encouraged to consume their meat. Additionally, eating them will also help preserve the ecosystem by managing their out-of-control population.
Due to their unique and exotic appearance as well as their special trait, kangaroos successfully captivated people’s hearts. That is why these animals are used to symbolize Australia.
Now you know why kangaroo is national animal of Australia. Then, how about the emu bird that also appears on Australia’s coats of arms? Check out the next article on why is emu the national bird of Australia to find out more about this magnificent bird!