Both the kangaroo and the wallaby belong to the macropod family, which contains large-footed animals. They have oversized feet that they use for jumping — their only form of locomotion. Both 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.
|Teeth||No premolars||Cutting tooth, Premolars|
|Legs||Long and oversized||Short and compact|
|Color||Muted Colors- Dull Coat||Bright Streaks- Shiny Coat|
- Family: Both the kangaroo and the wallaby belong to the same family of macropods and marsupials
- Habitat: Both are essentially found in Australia though the terrains are different
- Locomotion: Both these animals have strong hind legs and jumping is their only mode of locomotion.
- Life Cycle: Both these animals have a very short period of pregnancy, and the baby that’s born is very weak and fragile. They stay in their mother’s pouch and suckle for almost nine months before they can actually venture out. The constitution of the milk changes from time to time, to offer appropriate nutrition to the baby. As soon as the baby, commonly called the joey, is big enough to leave the pouch and only returns for feeds; the mother gives birth again.
Now that we know what the similarities are, understanding the differences will be easier.
Difference in Size
Kangaroos are usually larger than wallabies, which tend to be small (around 60 cm or 2 ft). Though their sizes vary hugely, the largest wallabies measure up to 180 cm (6 ft) from tail to head and weigh up to 20 kg (44 lbs). The largest of the kangaroos, the red kangaroo, can measure up to 280 cm (9 ft) from head to tail and weigh up to 90 kg (198 lbs).
The kangaroo has legs which are too long between the knees and the ankles. This makes the legs kind of oversized with respect to their body. The wallaby has more compact legs which are shorter.
The wallaby generally has a bright and colorful coat, with splashes of different colors. The coat of a kangaroo is less shiny and they have sober colors like black and grey.
The kangaroo does not have premolars and the crowns are less prominent. The wallaby does have premolars and a more pronounced cutting tooth. The teeth of the kangaroo are curved and ridged, the crowns of the molars are also higher and more distinct than those present in the wallaby.
Eating Habits of Kangaroos vs. Wallabies
The kangaroo generally feasts on grasses because it lives in open treeless areas. The wallaby on the other hand, eats mostly leaves because it lives in forest areas.