Last Reviewed and Updated on June 26, 2022
A kangaroo is a marsupial from the family Macropodidae. Native to Australia, they are the largest living marsupials. They are also one of the most recognizable animals in the world. But what does this unique creature actually eat?
What are the different species of kangaroos?
There are four species of kangaroos: the red kangaroo, the eastern grey kangaroo, the western grey kangaroo, and the antilopine kangaroo.
The red kangaroo is the largest of the four species and can weigh up to 200 pounds. The eastern grey kangaroo is the second-largest and can weigh up to 150 pounds. The western grey kangaroo is the third largest and can weigh up to 100 pounds. The antilopine kangaroo is the smallest of the four species and can weigh up to 50 pounds.
As you can imagine, there are slight variations between their diets.
Want to learn more about kangaroos? Check out this list of fun kangaroo facts.
Basics: what does a kangaroo eat?
A kangaroo’s diet is mainly composed of grasses, but they will also eat leaves, flowers… During the dry season, when food is scarce, kangaroos may even eat bark.
All species of kangaroos are strictly herbivores.
What does the red kangaroo eat?
The red kangaroo is an iconic Australian animal and one that is often seen in zoos and nature parks. But what does this fascinating creature eat in the wild?
These kangaroos primarily eat green vegetation, fresh grass (80%+ of diet) in particular, and forbs (flowering plants). Lovegrass (Eragrostis setifolia) is their favorite grass of choice, usually making up for more than 50% of their food intake.
Grass dominates their diet most of the time, even in the dry season the red kangaroo will search for green plants. When green grass and forbs are scarce, this kangaroo will eat other species of flowering plants as well as browse shrubs.
What do eastern gray kangaroos eat?
This species of kangaroos are predominately grazers. The grass is their favorite but they will eat other types of plants and even fungi.
They prefer young grass and will avoid dry grass. But in general, their diet is very similar to that of a red kangaroo.
They will also eat fruit, seeds, flowers, tree sap, and bark.
The diet of western gray kangaroo
Much like the other two, this kangaroo species also predominately feed on grasses. It also eats leafy shrubs and low trees.
What sets them apart is their high tolerance to a toxin present in many endemic (found only in certain areas) legumes. Plants that have this toxin are present only in the western parts of Australia. If other kangaroo species would eat these plants there would be trouble.
Antilopine kangaroo diet
These kangaroos mainly eat grass as well. They have a preference for short grasses.