What do kangaroos eat?

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 01/02/2024

Reading time: 3 mins

There is one important rule when visiting the kangaroos on Kangaroo Island, which is not to feed them.

Like most other animals, kangaroos have a specific diet. Because of this, it is important to only feed kangaroos during guided feedings.

When kangaroos aren’t lounging, you’ll probably see them grazing. So, what is it that kangaroos eat?

A kangaroo’s diet

Kangaroos are herbivores, which means they don’t eat meat. Instead, they eat lots of plants, but the type of plants depends on the species of kangaroo. The kangaroos on Kangaroo Island eat grass, leafy branches, and native shrubs.

Though kangaroos are nocturnal, you can still see them in various locations around the island. Some of the most common spots to see kangaroos are on roadsides and grassy flats. They are often grazing on the grassy flats at Stokes Bay, under the shea-oak trees at Cape Willoughby Lighthouse, and along the Hob Bay Road.

What do kangaroos drink?

Surprisingly, kangaroos can go a long time without drinking water. When kangaroos eat, they regurgitate their food and chew it some more before swallowing it again. This, combined with the moisture in the plants they eat, allows kangaroos to survive without water for long periods.

Other facts about the kangaroos on Kangaroo Island

• The kangaroos on the island are different from their cousins on the mainland.

The kangaroos on Kangaroo Island have evolved differently than their cousins on the mainland. They are shorter, have darker fur, and have a stockier build. The male kangaroos typically range from 100 to 140 centimetres tall, while the females range from 85 to 120 centimetres tall.

• It is difficult for kangaroos to move backwards.

Kangaroos can move backwards, but not with ease. Kangaroo leg structures make it hard to move backwards. They are able to move backwards pushing with their forearms and shuffling backwards. However, they don’t often need to move backwards, as they are able to quickly turn around.

• Baby kangaroos only spend a month in the womb.

The gestation for kangaroos is only 31 days. After that, they spend around 40 weeks in the pouch. The baby kangaroos will slowly adventure out of the pouch until they are able to survive outside of it.

• Kangaroos stick together.

Kangaroos travel together in a “mob”. Young female kangaroos with stay near their mothers to help out with baby kangaroos (joeys) as they come. Each mob has a male leader. If another male kangaroo wants to be the leader, they fight to see who gets to lead the mob.

You can have the chance to see Kangaroo Island kangaroos on either of our 1-day or 2-day Kangaroo Island tours!

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.

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