Saturday 20 December 2014


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Visit Australia and its surrounding islands and you will see Kangaroos and Wallabies hopping along beside the roads as you drive along.  Both appear similar as they belong to the marsupial family, although kangaroos are larger. But what are the differences between them apart from size?

Marsupials are mammals that live primarily in Australasia and the Americas.  They include kangaroos, wallabies, the koala, possums, opossums, wombats and the Tasmanian devil. A key feature of marsupials is that new born young are carried in the females pouch to complete postnatal development for eight months after birth.

Kangaroos and wallabies belong to the same family, Macropodidae, meaning 'large foot'. They have large, powerful hind legs, large feet adapted for leaping, a long muscular tail for balance. They have powerful hind legs that they use to bound along at high speeds and jump great distances. However, their legs cannot move independently of one another so they must hop everywhere.  

When they are threatened by predators, or when males battle each other, they may also use their legs to deliver powerful kicks.They often lean back on their sturdy tail and box each other with their strong hind legs.

Kangeroos and Wallabies are herbivores, and the bulk of their diet is grasses and plants. Their elongated faces leave plenty of jaw room for the large, flat teeth necessary to chew their vegetarian meals.


Kangaroos are endemic to Australia, although the tree-kangaroo is also found in Papua New Guinea.

Kangaroos are specifically categorised into the six largest species of the Macropodidae family. This includes the eastern gray kangaroo, western gray kangaroo, red kangaroo, antilopine kangaroo and two species of wallaroo.

Kangaroos are large animals, reaching heights of 1.8 metres/ 6 feet.  They hop along on their powerful hind legs and do so at great speed, reaching speeds of over 35 miles (56 kilometres) an hour.


The wallaby is closely related to the kangaroo, although they are generally smaller and stockier in build. Wallabies are not classified in a distinct genetic group. The term wallaby is an informal designation and is generally used for any macropod that is smaller than a kangaroo or wallaroo that has not been designated otherwise.

There are approximately 30 different species of wallaby found in a variety of habitats throughout Australia and nearby islands. 

Typical wallabies belong to the genus Macropus and include the agile wallaby (Macropus agilis), red-necked wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus), Rock-wallabies (genus Petrogale) and hare-wallaby (Lagostrophus fasciatus).


A wallaroo is one of three closely related species of macropod. They are intermediate in size between the kangaroos and the wallabies, with a height of around 80 cm. Most wallaroos are only a little smaller than a kangaroo, fairly thickset, and share a particular habit of stance with wrists raised, elbows tucked close into the body, and shoulders thrown back.

They include the Black Wallaroo (Macropus bernardus), Common Wallaroo (Macropus robustus) and the Antilopine Wallaroo (macropus antilopinus).

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