Kangaroos, Wallaroos and Wallabies, Oh my!

By Andreana Benitez

Albino Kangaroo

How many of you believe that a Wallaroo is a cross between a Kangaroo and a Wallaby?  Unless you are Australian (or Kangaroo Jack) you would be wrong.  This is the biggest misconception about Wallaroos.  So how can you tell the three apart?  Let’s explore the similarities as well as the differences between these three beautiful animals.

First off, all three are native to Australia.  This is their home.  They are also macropods from the Marsupial family.  Marsupial originates from the Latin word marsupium which means pouch.  This means that the females all have a forward-opening pouch where their newborn, called a Joey, lives.

Size does matter:


The easiest way to tell them apart is by their size. Kangaroos are the largest of the three.  They can reach an astonishing 6.5 ft tall! Now the name Wallaroo tells you that it is smaller than a Kangaroo but larger than a Wallaby. So, its size is in between the two. They get between 30 inches and 55 inches tall.  This leaves us with the smallest of the three the Wallaby.  They normally range in height between 11inches and 40 inches.  Man, they sure are small.

Habitats and their legs:


Another way to identify which animal is in front of you is by their habitat and the size of their legs.  Kangaroos have a wide variety of habitats.  They like areas with lots of rain and shade as well as areas where they can run like open woodlands and grasslands.  Kangaroos are designed to be fast on flat ground so their knees and ankles are set wide apart.  This lets them run super-fast.

Unlike Kangaroos- Wallabies have shorter legs which improve their agility.  This is why you will find them in bushy areas like forests or low-density forests with lots of sunlight and a little bit of shade.  They like low dense vegetation that is open and low to the ground.  You’ll find them near the mountains or hilly areas or areas close to the coast.  You will not find them in the center of Australia.  This is why they have shorter legs.  It improves their agility because maneuverability is more important than speed.


Once again, the Wallaroo is somewhere between the Wallaby and Kangaroo.  Wallaroos need a lot of water and like to live in areas that have a lot of shade to protect them against the heat of the day.  This is why they like mountainous areas with caves or places that have large rock formations with large overhangs to hide them from the sun.  You’ll find them near the coast as well as in the center of Australia.  They are not fast like Kangaroos or agile like the Wallaby.  So, their legs and feet are designed differently allowing them to climb.

So, the next time you visit Australia remember these fun facts and you will be able to tell the difference between these three beautiful animals.  Remember, the Kangaroo is the largest and the fastest.  The Wallaby is the smallest but very agile. And the Wallaroo is in between and likes to hide from the sun in caves and mountainous areas.