Lehigh Valley Zoo – The Lehigh Valley Zoo is home to five red kangaroos. A group of kangaroos is known as a mob. Our mob is made up of one male, three females, and a joey. A joey is a baby kangaroo. The easiest way to tell the male and female kangaroos apart is by their physical appearance differences, which is known as dimorphism. Male kangaroos are much larger, reaching around six feet tall and over 175 pounds. They are also typically a reddish-orange color with a red splotch on their chest. This is a scent gland! Female kangaroos are much smaller, around four to five feet tall and around 100 pounds. They are also a grey-blue in color. This coloring has led to the girls being known as blue flyers. Males are nicknamed boomers.
The red kangaroo is the largest of marsupial mammals, making them the largest kangaroo. A kangaroo’s tail is able to support their entire body weight. It also helps them maintain their balance and can support their entire body weight! These large tails make it impossible for the kangaroos to walk backwards! Red kangaroos are capable of reaching speeds up to 40mph, though typically travel at a slower pace.
Red kangaroos are natively found in Australia. Because of this environment, they have adapted to go long periods of time without drinking by consuming moisture-filled plants called succulents. They are considered crepuscular animals, especially due to the heat. This means they are active at dawn and dusk. In order to help them cool down during the day, they will dig beds in the dirt, searching for cooler earth to lay in. The best time to see our kangaroos is early morning (or evening for special events!). They tend to sleep in dirt beds during the hottest part of the day. Kangaroos are herbivores, eating a plant-based diet. At the zoo, they are fed a selection of fresh veggies, orchard grass hay, and Mazuri Kangaroo diet.
Our zoo is now home to five red kangaroos; our male George and three females Cara, Sadie, and Sophie. The newest addition to the family (or mob) is our little joey, Hopscotch! Red kangaroos are only pregnant for about 30-35 days. The joey, when born, is only the size of a jellybean. It is blind, hairless, and only has its front legs at this time. Female kangaroos are also able to pause their pregnancies for several months; this is known as embryonic diapause. In the wild they would do this if the environment was not right to raise a joey, such as an extreme drought.
We are all enjoying watching it get bigger and more curious about it’s surroundings every day. This little one still spends most of it’s time safe inside of mom Sadie’s pouch. The joey was born in March and we are hoping to find out soon if our baby is a boy or girl. When visiting our kangaroo vestibule be sure to be quiet and maybe you’ll get to see the joey hopping around the yard!
George is the easiest of our kangaroos to identify as our only male. Males are larger than females and are also a bright red-orange color. The three females are a little trickier to tell apart since they are all about the same size and a more grayish color. To tell the females apart we use colored ear tags for easy identification. Mom Sadie has a yellow tag, Sophie has a green tag, and Cara has no tag at all. This group is a newer kangaroo family to our zoo and this is the first joey for proud father George. Our female Sophie was actually the last joey born here at the zoo from our previous kangaroo family! Her parents were Sylvia and Spitz and when you visit our kangaroo vestibule make sure you see our statue in honor of Sylvia.
George came to us about two years ago from Lee Richardson Zoo in Kansas and just had his 5th birthday on June 13. Cara and Sadie are actually half sisters and only ten months apart in age, and they came to us from Cleveland Metro Park Zoo. All three females are now 6 years old. Cara and Sadie share the same father and Cara seems to be enjoying her new role as an aunt. If Sophie has a joey of her own that joey would be a fourth generation kangaroo born at our zoo! George is taking his role as a father very seriously and is very protective of his family. We love watching this family continue to grow and change.
When you come to visit make sure to check your schedule for our Kangaroo Q&A to come ask all of your questions about our kangaroos!
Written by Katie Goss Lerch and Kayla Strawn
Guest Engagement Ambassadors
Lehigh Valley Zoo | Schnecksville, PA