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Types of Kangaroos: Overview of The Different Species

The kangaroo is native to Australia. It is the national symbol of Australia, appearing in the Australian coat of arms and on the logo of several Australian services.

The red kangaroo is usually the first image in mind when we think about kangaroos, but there are different types.

In this article, we will look at the different types of kangaroos and uncover all the information that makes the kangaroo such a unique animal.

What Kind of Animal is a Kangaroo?

A kangaroo is a marsupial, a term that refers to animals that carry their young in a pouch. These iconic creatures are also mammals, giving birth to live offspring called joeys.

The kangaroo is a beautiful sight with its two large hind legs, a pair of small forelimbs, and a long beefy tail. Their hind legs contain tendons that give them an extra spring which makes hopping more energy efficient. Their muscular tail also serves as a third leg which helps propel them forward.

Kangaroos can be anywhere from 3 to 8 feet in height, and their weight ranges from 40 to 200 pounds. They are endemic to Australia but are also found in Tasmania and surrounding islands.

How Many Species of Kangaroos Are There?

The kangaroo is a member of the Macropodidae family, a name derived from the word “macropods” which means big foot. There are four species of kangaroo, namely:

  • Red kangaroo (Macropus rufus)
  • Western gray kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus)
  • Eastern gray kangaroo (Macropus giganteus)
  • Antilopine kangaroo (Macropus antilopinus)

The red kangaroo is the largest species, while the Eastern gray kangaroo is the heaviest. The Eastern gray and Western grey kangaroos are difficult to distinguish, but the latter have darker coloration on their head.

An Eastern grey kangaroo
An Eastern grey kangaroo

The antilopine kangaroo is sometimes classified as a wallaroo, but it is closely related to the red kangaroo.

Kangaroos are the largest living marsupials on Earth and the only large animal that uses hopping as their primary means of movement. Depending on the species, kangaroos can hop 10-30 feet into the air, and reach speeds of 30 miles per hour.

Also read: Are Kangaroos Dangerous? Can They Kill You With Their Kick?

What is The Smallest Kangaroo Species?

The Antilopine kangaroo is the smallest kangaroo species, but the dwarf wallaby is the smallest member of the kangaroo family.

It is important to note this difference. Several articles on the Internet refer to the dwarf wallaby as the smallest kangaroo, which is misleading.

The Macropodidae is also called the kangaroo family. It includes wallabies, wallaroos, pademelons, tree kangaroos, bettongs, and pataroos. Dwarf wallabies are the family’s smallest members, but are identified as wallabies, not kangaroos. The antilopine kangaroo is the smallest of the four extant kangaroo species.

The dwarf wallaby measures 18 inches in length and weighs 3.5 pounds. The antilopine kangaroo is gigantic compared to adult males growing to 47.2 inches and weighing as much as 108 pounds.

What is The Largest Kangaroo Species?

The largest kangaroo species is the red kangaroo. It is also the largest marsupial on the planet.

Red kangaroos have muscular limbs which come in handy when they fight or box. Adult males can reach 6.6 feet in height and weigh up to 200 pounds. Females are significantly smaller but would still tower over an average human.

Also read: What Do Kangaroos Eat? Learn About Their Diet and Favorite Food

A red kangaroo
A red kangaroo

Red kangaroos are found in arid and semi-arid regions of Australia and have adapted well to human presence in the country compared to other kangaroo species.

The biggest kangaroo on record is Roger, the buff kangaroo, which weighed 200 pounds and stood at 6 feet 7 inches. He became famous for his bodybuilder physique and died at twelve years old in 2018.

What is The Difference Between a Wallaby and a Kangaroo?

The primary difference between both animals is their size. Kangaroos are bigger than wallabies, measuring up to 6 feet in height and 200 pounds in weight. In comparison, wallabies can grow up to 30 centimeters and weigh 52 pounds.

Also read: What Eats Kangaroos? Their Top 6 Predators

Frequently Asked Questions

How many kangaroos are in Australia?

According to the Commonwealth government, there are 42.7 million kangaroos in Australia. Other estimates put the numbers as high as 50 million.

Do kangaroos only live in Australia?

Kangaroos are native to Australia and can only be found there. While a number of kangaroos can be found in different countries, they are in captivity in zoos. It is only in Australia this animal live naturally in the wild.

Are there kangaroos in New Zealand?

There are no kangaroos in the New Zealand wild, and they can only be found in zoos. There have been tourist kangaroo sightings in the past, referred to as the “Phantom kangaroo” phenomenon.

Are there more kangaroos than humans in Australia?

Yes, there are more kangaroos than humans in Australia. There are an estimated 50 million kangaroos to 25 million Australians.

What are other animals similar to kangaroos?

The kangaroo is perhaps the most popular marsupial and is easily recognized by its large hind legs and bouncy tail. But, there are other lesser-known animals similar to the kangaroo. They include wallabies, wombats, bandicoots, dunnarts, and koalas.

Is a kangaroo a rodent?

A kangaroo is a marsupial, a group of mammals that gives birth to tiny, undeveloped offspring, which it nourishes for months inside a forward-facing pouch. Rodents are placental mammals and, thus, do not have pouches.

What is a group of kangaroos called?

A group of kangaroos is called a mob, court, or troupe. The most commonly used term is the mob. Mobs can range from ten kangaroos to hundreds.

Are there kangaroos in America?

There are no kangaroos in America. However, the Phantom Kangaroo phenomenon has been reported in the US since the 20th century.

Where did the word “kangaroo” come from?

The word “kangaroo” was derived from the Guugu Yimithirr word “gangurru”. Gangurru was the aboriginal tribe’s word for the gray kangaroo. It was first recorded by British explorer James Cook in 1770, who spelled it as “Kanguru”.

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