The kangaroo is a marsupial from the family Macropodidae (macropods, meaning 'large foot'). In common use the term is used to describe the largest species from this family, especially those of the genus Macropus, red kangaroo, antilopine kangaroo, eastern grey kangaroo and western grey kangaroo. Kangaroos are endemic to Australia and a few neighboring islands including New Guinea. Kangaroos have large, powerful hind legs, large feet adapted for leaping, a long muscular tail for balance, and a small head. Like most marsupials, female kangaroos have a pouch called a marsupium in which joeys complete postnatal development.
Kangaroos have a paradoxical status in Australian culture, being regarded as something of both a blessing and a curse. While the kangaroo is a beloved national symbol, it is also a prolifically breeding pest whose population has to be forcibly culled with great frequency.
Note: Kangaroos have also given their name to the "kangaroo court", an unfair judicial procedure where the verdict is decided in advance before any evidence is presented, therefore "jumping" to conclusions. This term is sometimes used by Harry Turtledove characters.
Kangaroos were animals native to Australia. When the Race's Colonization Fleet arrived in 1962, many colonists thought the animal both bizarre and hilarious to look at. Fleetlord Atvar, who briefly mistook the creatures for sentient beings, believed that they looked like a hybrid between Tosevites and members of the Race.