Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wildlife on Wednesday ... the Eastern Grey Kangaroo.

I was asked last week what is the difference between wallabies and kangaroos.  Well ... wallabies are included in the animal group called 'kangaroos'.  Kangaroos are part of the family Macropodidae, a group of marsupial mammals with huge hind feet. They range in size from tiny wallabies to enormous kangaroos, all with the same general body form.

The most obvious difference between a wallaby and a kangaroo is their size.  As a rule, the kangaroo is generally much larger than the wallaby ... it has more height between its ankles and knees.  The kangaroo's legs are built for speed on open terrain ... while the wallaby's more compact legs are built for agility in wooded areas. 

Another difference between the two is their colouring.  A wallaby's coat is usually brighter with two or three differing colours, whilst the kangaroo's is far less spalshy and they tend to be all one colour .... like grey or brown.

If you want to be scientific about telling the difference, you'd have to get them to open up their mouths ... and look at their molars.  They eat their meals in different habitats ... so their teeth have evolved to suit their specific meal choices! 

So following on from last Wednesday's post, I will show you the Eastern Grey Kangaroo which is a kangaroo quite common around north-eastern Queensland.  While I don't see them around my place here in the foothills, they can be seen roaming free in our city's animal sanctuary.

The Eastern Grey Kangaroo has uniform woolly grey-brown fur ... the fur is slightly darker on shoulders and in the middle of the back. The tail is tipped with black.

This is one of the younger Eastern Greys at the Sanctuary.


  1. I looked up all those facts for my blog a while ago too. I knew instinctively that my photo was a wallaby but how could I explain to people who are not familiar with our animals that that it was not a kangaroo.

  2. Hi Joan Elizabeth ... yes it's not easy to describe the differences is it? I had to do a bit or research too when we had friends from England over and of course they thought the creatures coming into our yard were kangaroos ... and I realised I didn't really know how to explain the difference that well.

    It's like trying to tell the difference between some of our wattle trees! They sort of look the same but there are subtle differences ... which are more apparent when you're up close to the real thing.

  3. If I look at both I tend to simplify them as being kangaroos. Thanks to the info, now the generalisation seems to be on them having different names for different sizes, habitat, colours etc. I never personally see them, only in pictures or tv. ~ bangchik

  4. Bernie, great article! I never knew there was a difference.


  5. Thank you for the informative post! I was wondering about that very question from your wallaby post :D

  6. That was informative, Bernie. Taa

  7. I guess it takes a local resident to really tell the difference. Thanks for the info on how to tell which is a kangaroo and a wallaby. The last time we visited Perth, I really enjoyed myself. The golf courses are so beautiful and we can even find kangaroos in such places too.

  8. And it was me who asked, so thank you!

  9. You're most welcome Elephant's Eye! Hope it was a little helpful.


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