See the Kangaroos in Kangaroo Island

Named by Matthew Flinders in 1802 in response to the plentiful supply of kangaroo meat on the island, there are indeed kangaroos on Kangaroo Island.

Upon its European discovery in 1802, explorers were overcome with the number of kangaroos on Kangaroo Island. After travelling on ship rations for some time, the crew were able to shoot and eat kangaroo when they arrived on the island. This led Flinders to name the land Kangaroo Island in ‘gratitude for so seasonable a supply’ of roos.

Are there kangaroos on Kangaroo Island?

Kangaroo Species

Kangaroos are native to the continent of Australia and are divided into four distinct species. The kangaroos on the island are called Kangaroo Island Kangaroos- very creative. They are a sub-species of the Western Grey Kangaroo and are not found on the mainland.

Kangaroo Island Kangaroos

Kangaroo Island Kangaroos are the only species of roo found on the island and are quite unique from other species. Characterised by their smaller size, thick dark brown fur, and slow movement, Kangaroo Island kangaroos are the calmest of the species in Australia.

Due to being an isolated island, predators such as dingoes and introduced species like foxes have not been a threat to these animals. With no large predators, the kangaroos have been able to live their lives with relatively no danger for thousands of years. As a result, they are some of the friendliest roos in Australia and are quite slow to move away from humans as they’re still learning that we pose a threat to them.

Today, the biggest risk to these animals are car accidents and dog attacks. Despite this, their numbers have continued to flourish. It is estimated there could be up to 65,000 of them across the island. That’s more than fourteen kangaroos for each resident!


The Kangaroo Island kangaroo has the thickest fur of all kangaroos, and for good reason. Unlike the roos of Australia’s outback, these animals need to keep warm through cold coastal winters.

The roos spend most of their days lying in the scrub. At dusk and dawn, they come out from the scrub to feed on the vast grassy areas. Their social groups operate primarily around females, and mobs tend to move in family groups. Kangaroo Island kangaroos reproduce all year round, however there is a spike in births over the summer months. So be sure to keep an eye out for any little joeys poking their heads out to say hello!

Humans and Kangaroos

Sometimes the kangaroo’s curiosity gets the best of them and they might come up to say hello or get a better look at you. Despite their tame nature, you should never touch or feed wild kangaroos. They may be smaller than their mainland cousins, but they are still extremely strong and dangerous. Feeding them can also cause issues as human food can have a negative impact on their health. Additionally, if they become accustomed to ‘free’ food there can be negative impacts on the islands ecosystem.

Kangaroo Island Kangaroos are some of the cutest wildlife in Australia and you’re certain to see some of these adorable creatures when you visit Kangaroo Island!

Related article: How to get to Kangaroo Island