Mako the kangaroo got extra attention on his 12th birthday last week at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo. According to zoo keeper, Marian Powers, “He was more than willing to share his birthday treat” with the other 23 eastern grey kangaroos at the zoo.
But Mako is rather used to the attention. He is the only adult male kangaroo in the mob. (A group of kangaroos is a mob–another new word to add to your science vocabulary.) He is the father of 12 joeys. A joey is a baby kangaroo.
The proud daddy’s birthday cake was a tasty treat of willow and ash branches sprinkled with cottonwood and grape leaves.
Always a crowd favorite, Mako stretched out and gave himself a good belly scratch while the female ‘roos and the joeys devoured the delicious, leafy birthday cake.
Kangaroos are indigenous to Australia and children love them. In honor of Mako’s birthday, here’s a list of books and films that feature the adorable and lovable kangaroo. Consider including these fascinating creatures in a unit study on marsupials!
Mako is an eastern grey kangaroo. The eastern grey kangaroo lives primarily in Tasmania and Eastern Australia. They prefer the heavy scrub and forest of the damp coast and mountains. At the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo you can see eastern grey kangaroos in the Australian Adventure Outback. Here a joey is enjoying feeding time.
Dot and the Kangaroo
Dot and the Kangaroo, was written by Ethel C. Pedley in 1899. The story is about a little girl named Dot who gets lost in the Australian outback and is befriended by a kangaroo and other marsupials. In 1924 the book was made into a play and a film in 1977.
Kanga and Roo
The original stuffed animals that inspired the Winnie the Pooh books. Kanga is in the upper left. Christopher Robin lost Roo, the baby kangaroo toy that accompanied the one in the picture.
Joey of Madagascar
Joey is a cantankerous red kangaroo in the film, Madagascar. He hates all the other animals in his enclosure. Curiously he has a pouch, which means he may really be a she, and that could be the reason for his bad temper. (Only female kangaroos have pouches.)
Kanga and Roo of Winnie the Pooh
Kanga is the warm and protective mother to Roo in the Winnie the Pooh series of books. The two live in a house near the Sandy Pit in the northwestern part of the forest. Kanga is the only female character to appear in the books.
In the first season of Spot, Mr. Kangaroo is Spot’s neighbor who speaks with a New Zealand accent. Where’s Spot was published in 1980 and later was made into an animation and translated into more than 60 languages.
The Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo
In this “Just so Story” by Rudyard Kipling, we learn that the the kangaroo got his powerful legs from being chased by a hungry yellow dingo in Australia.
What big ears you have!
Eastern grey kangaroos have large ears and excellent hearing. Their powerful hind legs, long feet, and a long muscular tail make these kangaroos excellent jumpers.
The Pre-Teen Dirty-Gene Kung-Fu Kangaroos (or PDKK) is a 1980s American comic book created by Lee Marrs and publiched by Blackthorne Publishing. It was a parody of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, substituting the mutant turtles with kung-fu kangaroos.
Matilda is a 1978 American film about a boxing kangaroo. Instead of an actual kangaroo, the filmmakers used an actor in a kangaroo suit. The costume cost $30,000.
Hippity Hopper and Gracie
This Looney Tunes cartoon opens with a circus featuring “Gracie, the Fightin’ Kangaroo!”. Gracie has a baby named Hippety Hopper. While Gracie goes off to perform, Hippety slips on a pair of his mother’s boxing gloves, and wanders off. Sylvester the cat mistakes him for a giant mouse.
Skippy the bush kangaroo
In the 1998 Ausie animation, Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, Skippy, a red kangaroo, is a young park ranger in his early 20’s who lives in Bushtown in Australia and always happens to get in the way of Mayor Croco, his greedy wife Sulka, his pack of goons, and his frequent get-rich schemes which often endanger the town.
The amazing kangaroo
Kangaroos have large, powerful hind legs and large feet adapted for leaping, a long muscular tail for balance, and a small head. Like most female kangaroos have a pouch alled a marsupium in which joeys complete their postnatal development.
Kangaroo Jack is a 2003 American comedy film When the red kangaroo is hit by a vehicle, he ends up hopping away with $50,000 in a jacket he’s wearing (put on him by other characters in the film). Later the kangaroo’s picture is the logo for a new shampoo.