kangaroo trivia with the nashville zoo

ima, one of 17 new red kangaroos at the nashville zoo

ima, one of 17 new red kangaroos at the nashville zoo

i felt a little like jack hannah earlier this week hanging out with some of our newest nashvillians.  this saturday, the nashville zoo unveils the new 4,500 square foot kangaroo kickabout habitat.  visitors can view them from your standard outside area or walk through the exhibit on a winding path, interacting with them.  there are 17 red kangaroos in all (12 females and 5 males) and in honor of them, here are five facts about the red kangaroos:

1-  red kangaroos are the largest of the marsupial family.  adult males can grow up to 6 feet tall and weigh up to 200 pounds.  the ones at the zoo are only 1 1/2 to 4 years old.

2- a male’s jump can be as high as 10 feet and as long as 30 feet at a time.  they can travel at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour.

my new friend, jimmy, who was worn out after our interview

my new friend, jimmy, who was worn out after our interview

3- kangaroos can’t walk backwards.

4- when you visit the kangaroo kickabout this fall, you might notice they tend to poop on the rocks and the sidewalks.  according to kayce, one of nashville zoo’s ‘rookeepers, that’s because kangaroos don’t like to poop where they eat.  so watch your step!

5- the female kangaroos give birth once a year after a gestation period of only 35 days.  the baby, called a joey, is about the size of anywhere from a grain of rice to the size of a honey bee at first and then crawls into the mom’s pouch for the next 9 months.  here’s the craziest part: a female kangaroo can immediately get pregnant again and the pouch can hold both but her body creates two types of milk, one for the older joey and one for the younger.

the official ribbon cutting ceremony will be saturday morning, september 14 at 9:15 with mayor karl dean.  the zoo anticipates as many as 1,000 visitors on saturday for the exhibit.

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