Last updated on October 30th, 2022
Kangaroos are one of the most adorable creatures in the world. These creatures are easily distinguished by their ability to hop and their muscular tails.
But during a recent zoo visit, I thought kangaroos resembled dogs. However, kangaroos are marsupials, and dogs are mammals!
When I told this to the caretaker of the kangaroo cage, she said it was probably because of the whiskers on the kangaroo. Here is what she told me about the various features of kangaroos. But first, here is a quick summary of Kangaroos having whiskers.
Kangaroos use their whiskers as vibration sensors to gather information about their surroundings. The whiskers toward the front of their snout are short and almost unnoticeable. The whiskers then grow longer around the sides of the kangaroo’s snout, stopping before the jaw.
Do kangaroos have whiskers like other animals?
If you are thinking about the whiskers like dogs or cats and are looking for similar whiskers on kangaroos, you won’t find them.
The whiskers on kangaroos are not very prominent., like those of grazing animals like deer.
The whiskers on kangaroos are small and often indistinguishable from the fur. If you look carefully, you will find these tiny whiskers coming from both sides of their snout.
However, a mature kangaroo will eventually develop long visible whiskers like what is shown below.
Do baby kangaroos have whiskers?
Baby kangaroos can be relatively small and helpless creatures. A baby kangaroo is called a joey, and when they are born, they are nearly devoid of fur and whiskers.
A joey is relatively small and delicate, so it stays in the pouch for nearly six months to grow and mature.
Initially, you will not find any whiskers on the snout of a newborn joey. But as the creature grows, the whiskers develop.
You will find that baby kangaroos a few months old have teeny tiny whiskers.
Can kangaroos twitch their whiskers?
Like other creatures of the animal kingdom, kangaroos can also twitch their whiskers. Sometimes these are involuntary, while other times, the twitching of the whiskers is to remove flies or ticks from the snout area.
Kangaroos are known to twitch their whiskers even while they are asleep.
As the whiskers are sensory organs, twitching them is necessary to understand the environment around them.
Are the whiskers of kangaroos similar to their fur?
According to Lazypawvet.com, whiskers, and fur are not the same thing.
In kangaroos, the whisker’s behavior differs from that of their fur.
For example, the follicle of a whisker has more blood vessels than a strand of fur.
Moreover, whiskers are thicker compared to a strand of fur. Hence, the whisker is more of a sensory organ.
Fur, however, protects the animal against heat and cold.
Are there any species of kangaroo that has prominent whiskers?
In the case of certain species of kangaroos, such as the red kangaroo, the whiskers are pretty distinguishable.
As it is the largest marsupial, its limbs are more prominent than its counterparts, such as the Eastern Grey kangaroo and the Antilopine kangaroo.
The red kangaroo has the largest whisker among all the kangaroo species and is easily distinguished by its black and white color.
Does the whisker provide any protection for Kangaroos?
There is no record of the whiskers of the kangaroos providing them with any protection.
In most cases, whiskers are sensory organs that help animals navigate the environment around them.
For example, in the case of cats, the whiskers help detect objects around them, almost like the tactile hair on the antennae of butterflies.
Similarly, in the case of kangaroos, the whiskers act like an added sensory organ giving the marsupial an advantage in understanding its surroundings.
When kangaroos are bred in captivity, do they have whiskers?
Kangaroos bred in captivity appear the same as the ones found in the wild.
The change in environment and the safety offered by the reservation or zoo does not mean the kangaroo sheds its whiskers.
The whiskers not just detect danger, it helps the marsupial in its movement. Hence, kangaroos bred in captivity also have whiskers.