Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Kangaroo, any individual of the marsupial family Macropodidae (with about fifty species), almost exclusively confined to Australia and Tasmania, with some representatives in the Papuan Islands. The fore limbs are small, and used chiefly for prehension, the hind limbs are enormously developed; there is no great toe, the second and third are slender and united in a common skin, the fourth and fifth are very long, and form the principal support of the body, aided by the great stout tail. The general method of progression is a series of enormous bounds. They feed chiefly on grass, and do great damage to pasture land. The flesh is eaten, and the skin tanned into leather. In disposition they are timid and inoffensive, but when provoked or brought to bay they are formidable opponents, and will seize a man and wound him terribly, and sometimes fatally, with the terrible claws of the hind limbs. They differ greatly in size, the Giant Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) being about eight feet long, including the tail, while the Kangaroo Rats (Hypsiprymnus) are no bigger than a hare. The Rock Kangaroos (Petrogale) are so called from the situation they frequent; and the Tree Kangaroos (Dendrolagus), from New Guinea, are arboreal.