The Types of Kangaroos

The Red is the largest kangaroo species.
The Red is the largest kangaroo species. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Kangaroos are members of the Macroprodinae family of animals, of which there are 62 different species. Of those 62 species, only four are commonly known as kangaroos. The rest of the species are known as wallabies, wallaroos or tree kangarood. All four species of kangaroo are native to Australia.

Red Kangaroo

The red kangaroo is the largest marsupial in the world, with adults growing close to nine feet in length from head to tail and weighing up to 200 pounds. Males are larger than females and tend to have a deeper tinge of red to their fur. They range throughout most of Australia with just a few areas in the south and north where they are not found. Using their powerful tails and legs, the red kangaroo can hop up to 35 miles per hour and cover up to 25 feet in a single bound.

Eastern Gray Kangaroo

The eastern gray is somewhat smaller than the red kangaroo, growing to around 7 feet in length from head to tail and just 120 pounds in weight. Both sexes of the eastern gray have a gray-brown coat; males are larger than females. Like all species of kangaroo, the gray travels in small groups known as mobs and is a herbivore. As its name suggests, the eastern gray is native to eastern Australia. It can reach speeds of over 35 miles per hour and can cover up to 25 feet with one hop.

Western Gray Kangaroo

The western gray kangaroo looks almost identical to the eastern variety, but grows slightly larger. The males can reach lengths of 7.5 feet and weigh around 121 pounds with the females being shorter and weighing about half as much. Like all large kangaroos, they are able to balance their whole weight on their muscular tails, which also serve to aid balance as they hop along. They range along the west of Australia in forest and woodland habitats.

Antilopine Kangaroo

The Antilopine kangaroo is the smallest of the four main species, growing to around 6 feet in length and weighing up to 108 pounds. Similar in color to both gray species of kangaroo, they differ by having less on their muzzles compared to other species. The Antilopine kangaroo has a very small range, making it the least common variety. It is found only in the grassy eucalypt forests of northern Australia.

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