The Belfast Zoo's resident male Red Kangaroo is named Randalph, which zoo staff decided was close enough to "Rudolph" to name his newest joeys Dancer and Prancer. The largest marsupial in the world, Red Kangaroo's reach up to 190 lbs (85 kg) and almost 5 feet long from head to tail but at birth they weigh only .02 ounces (75 grams) and spend their first 150 days in mom's pouch!
4 December 2009
Move over Rudolph!
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer may be busy preparing for his global journey with Santa but Belfast Zoo’s red kangaroo, Randalph, is busy this Christmas with two new family additions, Dancer and Prancer.
Proud father, Randalph and the kangaroo group has two jumping joeys that recently emerged from their mother’s pouches. The red kangaroos were born to two females that came to Belfast Zoo from Parc Zoologique de Paris in January 2009. The young kangaroos have been in their mother’s pouch for around 235 days. At birth, the newborns weighed a mere 0.75 grams and faced a three minute journey through their mum’s fur to find the pouch, where it attaches to a teat for the next 70 days of development. The baby’s head starts to appear from the pouch at around 150 days.
Curator Alyn Cairns says “Over the past few months it has been great to monitor the joeys’ development, and see the whole group settle in well together. We are delighted to see the young kangaroos out of their pouches, and new mums Darling and Ruby are doing well. The two babies are a healthy and energetic pair and love exploring their surroundings. They are a great animal to watch“.
Standing up to an impressive two metres tall, the male red kangaroo is much larger and more powerfully muscled than the female. They have larger shoulders and forearms, and thickened skin over the belly which helps absorb the impact of kicks during mating fights. The male red kangaroo is typically a rich reddish-brown in colour, while the female is more bluish-grey. An iconic symbol of the Australian outback, the red kangaroo is the largest living marsupial .
The red kangaroo occurs in many protected areas across Australia, and, like other native wildlife, is protected by Australian law under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950.
Belfast Zoological Gardens now cares for a total of 8 red kangaroos, including 2 males, 4 females and 2 joeys. They are classified as Least Concern on the International Union of Conservation and Nature’s Red List of endangered animals.