The Difference Between Wallaby and Kangaroo

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Wallaby and Kangaroo

The difference between wallabies and kangaroos are not so noticeable once you look beyond the size difference.

However, with a closer look, you will find out that even though they hold a lot of similarities, a wallaby is so much more than just a small-sized kangaroo!

You are not the only person who may have been confused about the possible difference between both marsupials.

For years people have tried to spot the difference between a wallaby and a kangaroo, and we’ll tell you all you need to know about telling the difference between these marsupial cousins.

Both wallabies and kangaroos are marsupials, which means that they both carry their young (called Joey) around in a natural pouch and have so much similarity that scientists have now placed them in the one order, family, and subfamily.

Below are a few easy ways for you to tell the difference between a wallaby and a kangaroo:

Table of Contents

Size

As you may already know, the most apparent distinction between a wallaby and a kangaroo is their size. Some people think that wallabies are baby kangaroos because the kangaroos are much more giant than the wallabies.

However, that is not the case. A kangaroo can grow as tall as 2metres and also weigh more than 90kg. On the other hand, wallabies are lucky to weigh as much as 20kg and hardly ever grow to heights of 1m.

However, it is good to note that various species of wallaby and kangaroo come in a range of sizes, but this is a good rule of thumb to follow when determining what marsupial you’re looking at.

Body shape

Wallaby and Kangaroo

Because kangaroos are bigger, they have a more considerable amount of body height between their ankles and knees, making their legs look somewhat disproportionately sized for their whole body.

Their legs are naturally built to transport them across large open spaces speedily. Wallaby, however, is created with thick legs, specifically made for agility, when they move across rocky escarpments or forest floors.

Colour

Wallabies feature much more ornate fur than their kangaroo cousins. Kangaroos are more likely to feature a uniform coat of a somewhat muted color, such as grey or brown.

Wallaby, on the other hand, are more likely to have more than one color on their coat. You can even distinguish Some wallaby species based on their glossy coats.

Teeth

Yes, nobody expects that you’ll walk up to a marsupial and ask it to open its mouth for you can inspect its teeth. However, teeth have been found to be a key distinguishing feature for these two hopping animals.

In fact, it has been discovered that scientists make use of teeth to help identify different fossils. Wallaby posses flat teeth that they use to grind up leaves found in the forest habitat.

Kangaroo, on the other hand, mostly live off grasses and posses curved teeth that help them slice stalks of grass in their mouth.

Age

You can not tell the age of any of both animals by looking at them. However, wallaby has typically a much shorter lifespan than their kangaroo brothers, living between 11 and 14 years on average.

Kangaroo, however, has a significantly longer lifespan, averaging a lifespan of around 20 and 25 years. There are a couple of cases where wild kangaroo has been found to live up to 30 years old.

Pademelon

If you have ever spotted a small critter that resembles a wallaby, but you just weren’t quite right, there is a chance that you saw a pademelon! These are lesser-known marsupials that look a bit like a baby wallaby with a quokka-like head.

These tiny cute animals are known to live in forest areas just like the wallaby and are also close relatives to the kangaroo.

As you can already see, there are a good number of distinguishing features between the wallaby and kangaroo. One final thing you must also consider is where you can find the animal.

Do you know if you are in kangaroo or a wallaby habitat? Once you are sure of where you are, it can also be a good indicator of the species you’re dealing with.

Now that you have all the information you need about identifying kangaroos and wallabies, you can tell others too.

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