The Flinders Ranges in South Australia is bustling with some iconic Australian animals including three species of Kangaroo (Red, Western Grey and Euro), the Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby, Emu and the occasional echidna. In fact it would not be unreasonable to find both main animals on the Australian Coat of Arms standing next to each other (Kangaroo and Emu). Additionally, all these wonderful creatures are found in a stunning landscape of old hills filled with ancient rocks (and sometimes ancient fossils) covered in beautiful Australian vegetation.
I have spent a reasonable amount of time traveling around the Flinders rangers for both work and play, and I encounter one resident particularly frequently, the Wallaroo or Euro. While traipsing along old hills, dodging spinifex and occasionally sliding on the red-brown rock fragments, familiar ears pop up from behind the spiny vegetation. A few more steps forward and I am met with a hiss and a thump of the feet, before a Euro bounds down the hill slope alerting others to the intruder. The males at up to 60 kg can weigh almost as much as me, but the females only get to about half that size. They are generally solitary, but they can be found at much higher densities like in the Flinders Ranges with sometimes a dozen or more on one hill slope. They differ from other Kangaroos because they are stockier, have longer courser fur, and a bare nose pad.
Sometimes the Euros are not so keen to disappear and sit reasonably contently in the shade in a dusty hip hole during the day. In the evening they get ready for a drink and then off to feed on some vegetation. Unfortunately, not all encounters are so tranquil, they often feed near roadsides and bound off in unpredictable directions when disturbed. So caution is required while driving.
If I was to ascribe one word to the Euro, it would probably be cute. Being a stockier build and more fuzzy than the Red and Grey Kangaroos this gives the Euro more of a teddy bear look which is exemplified in the joeys with their slightly clumsy manner. After being born the joey spends 8-8.5 months in the pouch before being weaned at 15 – 17 months old. Not long after giving birth the females can mate again, but after the fertilised egg has undergone some development it can go into a suspended animation type state until the current joey reduces its suckling. By the time the new joey is born the older joey is evicted from the pouch.
Euros are one of the more easily seen of iconic Australian fauna. They are in the more arid parts of Australia associated with rocky hills or ranges and the search for them can take you to some absolutely stunning landscapes like the Flinders Rangers. They are very cute and if you spend some time watching them their individual characters begin to show.