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Kangaroos are a popular Australian animal and an absolute icon for the aussies.

They feature on the Australian coat of Arms, postage stamps, 50 cent and $1 coins and are also used by Qantas and the Royal Australian Air Force.

Here are 5 facts you might not know about them.

1. Kangaroos are the tallest Marsupial

A marsupial is a mammal whose members are born incompletely developed and are typically carried and suckled in a pouch on the mother's belly.

Kangaroos can stand over 2 meters tall making it the tallest on the planet.

2. Kangaroos are really fast

Kangaroos can travel more than 56km/h and up to 71km/h over shorter distances. They can leap more than 9 meters in a single bound thanks to their large feet and powerful hind legs. Their small front legs and long strong muscular tail helps them balance while jumping.

3. Kangaroos are powerful kickers

Males will often fight each other for dominance and access to females.

When they fight, they punch and kick with powerful blows, and will sometimes even bite. Balancing on their tails, they lean back and punch and kick out, trying to knock their opponent off balance. Big claws on their feet ensure that the kick is painful and damaging.

Male kangaroos have thickened skin around their bellies to protect themselves from these powerful kicks. 

Male kangaroos learn to fight by training when they are young. At first with their mum and later with other young males.

4. Kangaroos can swim

Kangaroos can swim by keeping their heads above the water to breathe and paddling with their legs, which move independently in the water. They use their tail as a propeller and can even use their front paws to drown pursuers.

A useful skill to cross rivers, defend themselves and avoid predators. 

5. Babies Kangaroos are called joeys

A newborn joey is only about 2.5cm long, at which point it will begin its time in its mothers pouch.

After a few months its eyes open and it’s able to look out of the pouch. Then the youngster emerges from the pouch for short trips and to nibble on some grass and only about after 8 months old joeys are able to leave the pouch for good.

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