Unseen Passage: Kangaroo

The hopping kangaroo is a familiar sight in every snapshot relating to Australia. Members of the kangaroo family can be as small as a rat or as big as a man. Kangaroos are found mainly in Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea. Kangaroos, which are big-footed marsupials that evolved in Australia, use their short front legs like arms. The man-sized kangaroos of Australia are capable of speeding up to 88 km/hr for short distances, their means of locomotion being their powerful hind legs, which carry them over the ground in jumps of 9 m or more at a time.

Weighing around 70 kg, they have an average lifespan of around six to eight years and a maximum lifetime of 20 years. When bothered by predators, kangaroos often head for the water, standing submerged to the chest, and attempting to drown the attacker by holding him under water. Another defensive technique is to get their back to a tree and kick at their adversary with their clawed hind feet, sometimes with sufficient force to kill a man. Normally shy animals, they alert other kangaroos to danger by beating on the ground with their hind feet. This loud alarm signal carries over a long distance.

The tail is important for kangaroos. It holds them in balance and supports them when they sit or fight against other kangaroos. The kangaroo uses its short legs as arms. With them it scratches itself, cleans its fur and holds branches when it eats leaves. Kangaroos are marsupials and the females carry newborns in a pouch in front of their abdomens. The babies are born small and climb up into the safety of the pouch. There, for the next 225 days or so, they eat, sleep and grow. Once they reach full development, they leave the pouch. A young kangaroo that leaves the pouch is called a ‘joey’. To keep from getting too hot, the kangaroos take naps in the afternoon and do most of their grazing at night. But the best stay-cool secret of these creatures is the spit bath! Kangaroos drool and lick saliva all over their faces and bodies to cool down.

Q. On the basis of your reading of the above passage, complete the following sentences with appropriate words/phrases:

  1. When followed by predators, kangaroos submerge _____________ and _____________ .
  2. The powerful hind legs help kangaroos to _____________ .
  3. Kangaroos are mainly found in Australia and are _____________ .
  4. They use their front legs to _____________ .
  5. Kangaroos warn others of danger by _____________ .
  6. The secret of kangaroos to stay cool is _____________ .
  7. They use their tails to _____________.
  8. Before becoming ‘joeys’, the young ones stay in the _____________ and _____________ .


  1. to the chest, and attempt to drown the attacker by holding him under water.
  2. kill a man.
  3. big-footed marsupials.
  4. scratch, clean and hold branches.
  5. beating on the ground with their hind feet.
  6. spit-bath
  7. hold them in balance and supports them when they sit or fight against other kangaroos.
  8. pouch for 225 days, and grow till their full development.

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