Kangaroos are marsupials that can only be found in Australia. They are popular animals due to their unique way of moving – by bouncing or hopping along on their powerful hind legs.
As their habitats in Australia get extremely hot, they spend most of their day lounging around and are most active at dawn, dusk, and at night. Whilst they don’t have many predators to worry about, kangaroos still need to get out of the hot sun to save energy. But if they are mostly active at night, where do they sleep?
Without many predators to worry about, kangaroos will sleep in a variety of locations. But where are these locations exactly? Where do kangaroos go to sleep?
Where do kangaroos sleep?
Kangaroos sleep just like most humans – lying down on their sides – and the key to them finding a comfortable place to sleep is finding a location with plenty of shade. As most species of kangaroo are native to the Australian Outback where the temperatures can soar above 40 degrees celsius, they spend most of their days asleep in order to save energy.
Red kangaroos will most often be found sleeping during the day under the cover of dense bushes and trees. They live in the most arid areas of the central Outback, so will only be active from dusk until dawn – they are crepuscular. Whilst you might be lucky to see one during the day, your best bet is to look under those dense bushes, where you will likely find small groups of red kangaroos stretched out and sleeping on the ground.
Eastern and western grey kangaroos live in slightly less arid areas than grey kangaroos, so can be found grazing during the day more often. However, they do still like to sleep during the hottest parts of the day when the sun is at its highest. Just like red kangaroos, eastern and western grey kangaroos will retreat to the shelter of shady trees and bushes to sleep under for protection from the sun.
Do kangaroos sleep in trees?
Kangaroos like the red kangaroo and the eastern grey and western grey kangaroos cannot climb trees. You will only find these species of kangaroo sleeping on the ground under the shade of dense bushes and trees.
Tree kangaroos, however, can climb trees – just as their name suggests – and are the largest tree-dwelling mammals in Australia. They are well adapted to life in trees and do not have the long hind legs of their red and grey cousins. They have short forelimbs and sharp claws used for holding tight to the branches. Tree kangaroos prefer to live in heavily forested areas like Queensland and will sleep on whatever branch they find most suitable in the tree that they are currently in. Tree kangaroos sleep for 60% of their time and, like their cousins, are least active during midday when it is too hot for them.
Do kangaroos sleep while standing?
No kangaroos sleep whilst standing up. Like humans, kangaroos prefer to lie down and stretch out to get more comfortable sleep. They will find a comfortable spot of dirt or grass under a tree or a bush and stretch themselves out on their sides. Tree kangaroos do not sleep standing up either, preferring to curl up on larger branches of trees.
Where do baby kangaroos sleep?
Baby kangaroos – or joeys – spend the majority of their time in their mother’s front pouch. This keeps them safe from predators like dingoes and allows them to be carried along if the family group needs to move quickly. Joeys will stay in the pouch, eating and sleeping there until they are 6 months old. Then, they will come out occasionally to feed, but will still return to the pouch to sleep. Once they reach 10 months, they will not need the pouch anymore and will sleep with the adult kangaroos in the shade on their sides.
Tree kangaroos also have pouches to carry their joeys whilst they develop, so baby tree kangaroos will sleep in their mother’s pouches as well.
Red kangaroos, eastern grey kangaroos, and western grey kangaroos are mostly active at night and sleep for most of the day. They all prefer to find the most well-shaded locations to avoid the heat of the sun in the Outback, so they will find places to sleep underneath trees and bushes, stretch out on their sides, and fall asleep.
Tree kangaroos are excellent climbers and spend most of their time in trees. This includes sleeping – they will find a branch that suits them best and curl up to sleep there.
No species of kangaroo can sleep standing up – this is a common misconception. They all prefer to either curl up on a comfortable tree branch or stretch out on their sides in the shade to get a more comfortable and restful sleep.