Kamgaroo facts - by Chinaroad


  • Kangaroos are the most famous animals from Australia.

  • A kangaroo can leap 30 feet in one jump!

  • A newborn Joey is only about an inch long - smaller than your finger!

  • The weight of a red kangaroo ranges from 18kg (39 pounds) up to 90 kilograms (198 pounds).

  • Lifespan in the wild is thought to be around 15 years

  • The Red Kangaroo can travel at speeds as fast as 65kph (40mph).

  • Male kangaroos are called boomers. Females are called does (like deer) or flyers. 

  • If you lift a kangaroo's tail off the ground, it cannot hop. They use their tails for balance. 

  • Kangaroos are called macropods. This means "big foot." 


Stumpy, the roo with an artificial hind leg!
Stumpy, the roo with an artificial hind leg!

Although kangaroos aren't your typical pet, in 2003 the story of Stumpy received national media attention when she was fitted with a prosthetic leg after losing a foot due to an injury.

Tammie Rogers, director of the International Kangaroo Society, Lancaster, Ohio, USA, owns a one-acre property where she cares for sick and injured kangaroos. Rogers had been caring for Stumpy, a three-year-old at that time, when she observed that the kangaroo could not "posture," meaning that she couldn't take the natural upright stance of a kangaroo by standing on her hind feet with her front paws up in the air. "She walked around on three feet. She didn't hop," Rogers said. To make matters worse, Rogers was forced to prevent Stumpy from mating because she feared the weight of carrying the offspring in the pouch would be too much for the macropod.

Enter Rick Nitsch, CPO, of American Orthopedic Inc., Columbus, Ohio, USA, who began experimenting in animal O&P several years earlier. Nitsch fitted Stumpy with a Luxon® Max DP prosthetic foot donated by Otto Bock HealthCare. Just like Nitsch does for people, he custom-made a plastic and fiberglass limb using the same molding and fitting process. He first made a cast of the kangaroo's residual limb, filled the cast with plaster, and produced a replica of the leg. The replica then had to be modifiedwith the plaster shaved away or filled into make sure it would hold the animals weight in the best way and enable it to walk with a normal gait. That took several fittings, with the process lasting up to a month. The limb was then secured to the animal with a strap or hinge. "The animal can't tell me it hurts or it's falling off, so it has to be foolproof," Nitsch said of the fitting process. "The first few steps, the animals try to kick it off. It takes some animals longer than others to get used to it." After receiving the artificial limb from Nitsch, Stumpy was reenergized. She was posturing, running, and hopping again, and Rogers was going to allow her to breed. She also enjoyed her 15 minutes of fame with the national media coverage.

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Diarrhoea is probably the most common problem encountered with orphaned macropod Joeys. Diagnosis must be made with the aid of veterinarians.

Non-infectious causes include diet, overfeeding, temperature stress, bad management, psychological distress and irritable bowel syndrome. The infectious causes include bacteria, yeast, coccidia and worms.

Diet, temperature stress and psychological distress are the most common causes of diarrhoea. As the symptoms persist and the gut flora is altered, specific pathogens begin to play a bigger role. Joeys often experience diarrhoea as they adjust to artificial formulae.

To help them, dilute their formulae (half strength on day one, 2/3 on day two, 3/4 on day three and full strength on day four). Marsupials do not tolerate high lactose milks. Some concentrations of proteins, fats and carbohydrates will lead to inappropriate osmolality of the milk (which should be isosmotic with plasma) and diarrhoea will result from water drawn into the gut.

There are three readily available artificial milk formulae suitable for hand-raising joeys: Wombaroo, Biolac and Divetelac/Digestalac.

Wombaroo and Biolac have variable strength milks representing the various stages of macropod lactation.
People wrongly believe that Joeys know how much milk they need.

Wombaroo has calculated tables for the quantity of milk joeys require at different stages of development. Each Joey should be weighed and measured when it comes into care and compared to the Wombaroo chart for the closest related species (use growth data from actual animals that have been successfully raised if possible).

Regularity of feeding is also important. A Joey cannot thermo-regulate until it fully emerges from the pouch, although this improves as it grows fur. Furred Joeys need to be kept at 28 deg and unfurred Joeys at 32 deg. Temperature fluctuations or inadequate heating can produce profuse watery diarrhoea. Bad management also causes problems. This ranges from lack of routine, noisy environment, poor attention to hygiene, poor toileting technique (stimulating pouch dependent joeys to urinate and defecate), poor pouch design to poor feeding technique.

Furred Kangaroos
Constant warmth is very important. Powered milk, Divetelac, Digestelact, (available from your produce or fodder store) or evaporated milk can be used. The milk should be fed diluted initially, i.e., 114ml milk - 314ml water, for a few feeds, gradually increasing the concentration over 2- 3 days.
Solid foods - fruit and vegetables (i.e., apple, orange, pear, carrot); kangaroos can also be given grass hay and cattle pellets. If you have the animal for more than 2-3 days you must check for a more complete diet.

Unfurred or Finely Furred Kangaroos
These animals are very undeveloped and need the very best of care if they are to survive. Provision of constant warmth is essential as they cannot produce their own body heat.
They should be fed water and Glucodin (1 teaspoon Glucodin per 200 mls water), or Lectade (available from your veterinary surgeon) for the first few feeds. 

Joeys can get diarrhoea if they are frightened and cold. Anxiety caused by handling and feeding by numerous people, irregular feeding, hugging, carrying out of the pouch and “roughing up” by children or pets will also lead to diarrhoea.

An irritable bowel is the result of chronic, unresolved diarrhoea. The decreased transit time of digesta through the gut does not allow adequate digestion, causing malnutrition and death. Changes to the gut lining in this syndrome usually make treatment unsuccessful.

Bacteria are rarely to blame in the early stages of diarrhoea.

In some cases, faecal culture is advisable to determine appropriate antibiotic. Suitable first line antibiotic therapy pending culture can be carried out with the broad spectrum sulpha/sulpha-trimethoprim drugs. Penicillins (e.g. Amoxil) are mostly absorbed from the gut and therefore do not work on gut infections.
Yeasts such as Candida and Torulopsis can take control of the gut if bacteria have been depleted by antibiotics. In an already inflamed gut, the results of a yeast infection can be rapidly fatal. The diarrhoea associated with yeast infection is typically creamy, white to yellow and sickly sweet smelling. All joeys receiving antibiotic therapy should simultaneously receive a course of nystatin to control yeasts.

Coccidiosis in macropods is caused by macropod specific protozoans that live in the intestine and do not normally cause disease. It is only a problem in joeys that have started grazing. It is transmitted to the joey when it eats oocytes in faeces.

The first step is to eliminate the possible non-infectious causes of diarrhoea.

Day 1: As soon as diarrhoea is observed and an analysis of the Joey's management completed, add a binding agent to the next feed.

Kaomagna and ADM (apple pectin) are useful, the latter being more palatable in fussy joeys.
Binding agents must be administered in sufficient volume to coat and sooth the inflamed gut lining and thicken the liquid gut contents thereby reducing the risk of dehydration.
Give small joeys 5ml of agent, medium sized joeys 10ml and large joeys 20ml three times a day. If the causes have been addressed, this will usually bring a response within three days.
The total volume of milk should not change or the joey will receive less total energy. An extra meal a day may be needed to make up the total daily energy intake.

Scourban is contraindicated as a first line treatment because it contains antibiotics which will alter the gut flora.

Day 3: Visit a vet if there has been an inadequate response. Faecal floatation and faecal culture are recommended.

Antibiotic therapy should be avoided unless indicated by culture.
If antibiotics are to be given, always give a course of nystatin (Mycostatin or Nilstat) to prevent yeast overgrowth.

Environmental Protection Agency, Queensland

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