Wallaby vs. Kangaroo: 5 Differences Between These Macropods

Posted by Christy Caplan
Kangaroo

Both the wallaby and the kangaroo belong to the family of macropods. They have over-sized feet that allow them to jump, which is their only way of getting around.

According to Diffen.com, both of these animals also belong to "marsupial infraclass," meaning they have a front-opening pouch to carry their babies.

"However, some animals in the marsupial family, like the wombat, have backward-opening pouches. Since both animals belong to the same family and live in similar habitats (mainly Australia, with some species found in New Guinea), they resemble each other but also have distinct differences."

Are a wallaby and kangaroo the same?

Nope! ZooNooz points out some major differences. Most notably, kangaroos are much bigger.

"The 'Wallaby' is a general term for about 36 species of small and medium-sized macropods. There are several kinds of wallabies, including rock wallabies, hare wallabies, nail-tailed wallabies, forest wallabies, and one species of swamp wallaby."

Here are some kangaroo characteristics:

  • Petite forelimbs: Each digit has a thick claw.
  • Cozy pouch: Developing babies are called joey's.
  • The real bigfoot: They are built for hopping.
  • Tale of a tail: It's the 5th limb!

Which is bigger: A kangaroo or a wallaby?

Kangaroos are larger than wallabies, which tend to be small. Though their sizes vary a great deal, the biggest wallabies can measure to 6 feet from tail to head and weigh around 44 pounds.

The largest of the kangaroos, which is the red kangaroo, can grow up to 9 feet in length from head to tail!

What are the differences in their legs? 

Kangaroo legs are longer, and they can move at about 12 miles per hour.

Can a kangaroo and wallaby breed? 

 

Although physically more like kangaroos, "wallaroos" genetic make-up is closer to that of some wallabies, and they can cross-breed with some wallaby species.

It's generally considered rare in the wild, though.

What are the differences in teeth and diet?

According to AnimalWised, they both eat a lot of grass.

"The wallaby lives in forests and feeds mainly on leaves. As such, it has flattened premolars for crushing and grinding leaves, and their incisors are more pronounced for occasional cutting.

Even though the kangaroo loses its premolars during adulthood and its row of its molars forms a curve, its teeth are grooved and the crowns of its molars are more pronounced. This dental structure allows it to cut the stems of tall grass."

Other cool facts? 

  • Both the kangaroo and the wallaby belong to the same family of macropods and marsupials.
  • Both animals have powerful hind legs and jumping is their only mode of locomotion.
  • Infants stay in their mother's pouch and suckle for almost nine months before they can actually venture out. They have one offspring.
  • Wallabies have more compact legs and compact bodies.
  • There are 11 species of wallabies.

Other animals to check out? Tree kangaroos, Tasmanians, and Rat-kangaroos.

Do you or anyone you know, live with exotic animals? Please comment below! 

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Wallaby vs. Kangaroo: 5 Differences Between These Macropods