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How Many Types of Kangaroos Are There?

 
By Nick A. Romero, Biologist and environmental educator. March 28, 2023
How Many Types of Kangaroos Are There?

Kangaroos are a marsupial species native to Australia. They are known for their characteristic hopping gait, powerful legs, and pouches in which they carry and protect their young. In fact, kangaroos have become a symbol of Australia and are an important part of Australian culture and identity. What many people do not know, however, is that there are actually several species of kangaroos, all with unique characteristics.

In the following AnimalWised article, we will introduce the different types of kangaroos and their main characteristics.

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How many types of kangaroos are there?

Many people are unaware that there exist multiple animal species that can be categorized as kangaroos. However, the term "kangaroo" generally refers to the large, herbivorous marsupials that belong to the Macropodidae family and are native to Australia. This encompasses not only kangaroos but also other related animals like wallabies, tree kangaroos, and wallaroos.

Although there are more than 60 species of macropods, only a few are commonly referred to as kangaroos, namely the Red Kangaroo, Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Western Grey Kangaroo, and Antilopine Kangaroo. However, despite their classification as kangaroos or wallabies, all of these animals are part of the same family and share many similarities.

In the following sections, we will delve into each of these species in greater detail to gain a better understanding of their unique characteristics. Do not miss this other article on differences between kangaroos and wallaby.

Red Kangaroo (Osphranter Rufus)

The red kangaroo, scientifically named Macropus Rufus, is an Australian marsupial species and the largest of its kind. Adult males can weigh up to 198 pounds (ca. 90 kg) and range in size from 25.6 inches (0.65 m) to 47.2 inches (1.2 m), while females tend to be smaller.

Their coat color varies by region and can be reddish or grayish. Despite being the least endangered of all kangaroo species, the red kangaroo faces threats such as habitat loss, hunting, and climate change, necessitating conservation efforts. This iconic animal is a vital part of Australian culture and recognized globally as a symbol of the country.

How Many Types of Kangaroos Are There? - Red Kangaroo (Osphranter Rufus)

Western grey kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus)

The Western grey kangaroo, which is native to Australia, is a fascinating marsupial known for its extensive distribution across the southern regions of the continent. This species displays sexual dimorphism, with males generally larger than females. They can weigh between 62 pounds (ca. 28 kg) and 119 pounds (ca. 54 kg) and stand up to 3.6 feet (1.1 m) tall, including their long 3.3 feet (ca. 1 m) tail.

One of their distinctive features is their snout, which is covered in fine fur, and their coloration ranges from light brown to reddish brown. Despite facing threats such as habitat loss and hunting, this species is currently listed as "Least Concern" in terms of conservation status.

See also our other article about the function of the kangaroo pouch.

How Many Types of Kangaroos Are There? - Western grey kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus)

Eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus)

The Eastern grey kangaroo, also native to Australia, is commonly found throughout the eastern continent and Tasmania, and has been introduced to other islands. Often confused with the Western gray kangaroo, it has a more uniform gray coloration with an almost white face.

They are the second-largest kangaroo species, weighing between 37 pounds (ca. 17 kg) and 143 pounds (ca. 65 kg), with females measuring about 3.3 feet (ca. 1 m) and males around 4.3 feet (1.31 m) in length. Although larger specimens have been reported, they are still smaller than the red kangaroo. This species is currently listed as Least Concern.

How Many Types of Kangaroos Are There? - Eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus)

Bennett's tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus bennettianus)

Bennett's tree-kangaroo is an endemic species of Australia, distributed from sea level to about 4,600 feet (1.4 km) above sea level. Its range is restricted to the north of the Daintree Rivers, west of Mount Windsor, and in Cape York in Queensland.

It is the largest arboreal mammal in Australia and has front legs longer than its hind legs, distinguishing it from other kangaroo species. Males weigh up to 31 pounds (ca. 14 kg), and females weigh about 23 pounds (ca. 10 kg), with their tail longer than their entire body. They have dark brown fur, except on their throat, belly, and sometimes on their extremities. Bennett's tree-kangaroo is currently listed as near threatened.

How Many Types of Kangaroos Are There? - Bennett's tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus bennettianus)

Grizzled tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus inustus)

The Grizzled tree-kangaroo, scientifically known as Dendrolagus inustus, is an endangered species endemic to Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. This arboreal mammal inhabits both coastal and mountainous regions, depending on the specific location.

In terms of physical appearance, the Grizzled tree-kangaroo shares some similarities with the common Australian kangaroo, but its head is less elongated. It boasts long limbs with large claws that aid in its arboreal lifestyle. The Grizzled tree-kangaroo's fur color ranges between slate gray and chocolate brown, and it can grow up to 0.80-0.90 meters tall, weigh between 8 to 15 kilograms, and possesses a relatively lengthy tail.

How Many Types of Kangaroos Are There? - Grizzled tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus inustus)

Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus lumholtzi)

Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo, scientifically known as Dendrolagus lumholtzi, is an endemic species of tree kangaroo found in the high mountain rainforests of Queensland, Australia. Despite its small size, with males weighing approximately 8.5 kg and females weighing around 7 kg, this arboreal mammal reaches a length of 0.5 m, with a tail length of 0.7 m.

Compared to ground kangaroos, Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo has smaller hind limbs, while the forelegs and tail are relatively larger than those of their non-terrestrial relatives. The animal is covered in long, dark gray fur on its back and lighter fur on its belly. Unfortunately, due to habitat loss and hunting, Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo is classified as near threatened.

How Many Types of Kangaroos Are There? - Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus lumholtzi)

Gray forest wallaby (Dorcopsis luctuosa)

The gray forest wallaby, scientifically known as Dorcopsis luctuosa, is a kangaroo species commonly referred to as the gray dorcopsis. Unfortunately, it has been classified as endangered due to population decline, and it is only found in specific regions of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

This particular kangaroo species inhabits lowland areas and can be found at a maximum elevation of 1300 ft (0.4 km) above sea level. Its body is predominantly gray, but the coloration on the chest and belly may vary. The legs, tail, and ears are typically reddish-brown.

One interesting characteristic of the gray forest wallaby is the noticeable sexual dimorphism. Males can weigh up to 11.6 kg and reach a height of nearly one meter, whereas females weigh only around 3.6 kg and are half the size of males.

How Many Types of Kangaroos Are There? - Gray forest wallaby (Dorcopsis luctuosa)

Agile wallaby (Macropus Agilis)

The Agile wallaby, scientifically known as Macropus agilis, is a marsupial species that is native to Australia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. At first glance, the Agile wallaby looks similar to other kangaroo species. It has a yellowish-white coloration that extends from its throat to its belly. The Agile wallaby can grow to a size of about 1.9 ft (0.58 m) to 3.2 ft (ca. 1 m), with males weighing around 44 lbs. (ca. 20 kg) and females weighing approximately 26 lbs. (ca. 12 kg).

Currently, the Agile wallaby is classified under the Least Concern category, indicating that it is not currently facing a significant risk of extinction.

How Many Types of Kangaroos Are There? - Agile wallaby (Macropus Agilis)

Brush-tailed rock-wallaby (Petrogale penicillate)

The Brush-tailed rock-wallaby, scientifically known as Petrogale penicillata, is an endangered species of kangaroo that is native to Australia. However, their range is limited and irregular, primarily found throughout the southeastern region.

This kangaroo species has a brown dorsal portion and a lighter ventral portion, which is a typical feature among many land kangaroos. They typically range in size from 1.4 ft (ca. 43 cm) to 2.2 ft (0.67 m) and weigh approximately 8 lbs. (ca 4 kg) to 5 lbs. (ca. 10 kg). Brush-tailed rock-wallaby's most distinctive feature is its long, brush-like tail, which measures about 0.6 m for males and 0.5 m for females.

If this topic has piqued your interest, you should read our other article about how far a kangaroo can jump.

How Many Types of Kangaroos Are There? - Brush-tailed rock-wallaby (Petrogale penicillate)

Common Wallaroo (Macropus robustus)

The Common Wallaroo, scientifically known as Macropus robustus, is a kangaroo species that inhabits various regions of Australia and is considered endemic to the continent. The species is currently categorized as Least Concern due to its wide distribution.

Like other kangaroo species, the Common Wallaroo moves primarily on two legs or bipedally. They have a color range from light to dark gray, and adult males can reach a height of approximately 1 meter and weigh between 28 and 42 kg, while females weigh between 18 and 24 kg.

Compared to other kangaroo species, the Common Wallaroo has a robust and powerful physique that is well-adapted to rocky terrains. They also possess shorter limbs, which aid them in moving across uneven and challenging landscapes.

If you found this article interesting, you may also want to check out our piece on what do kangaroos eat.

How Many Types of Kangaroos Are There? - Common Wallaroo (Macropus robustus)

Other types of kangaroos

Apart from the ones mentioned above, there exist numerous other animal species that could also be categorized as kangaroos. Here are a few more examples:

  • Matschie's tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiei)
  • Tenkile (Dendrolagus scottae)
  • Black forest wallaby (Dorcopsis atrata)
  • Red-necked wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus)
  • Allied rock wallaby (Petrogale assimilis)
  • Short-eared rock-wallaby (Petrogale brachyotis)
  • Swamp wallaby (Wallabia bicolor)
  • Black-striped wallaby (Macropus dorsalis)
  • Black Wallaroo (Macropus bernardus)
  • Antilopine Wallaroo (Osphranter antilopinus)

Do not miss this other article where we talk about how kangaroos are born.

If you want to read similar articles to How Many Types of Kangaroos Are There?, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

Bibliography
  • Animal Diversity Web. (2020). Available at: https://animaldiversity.org/
  • IUCN. (2022). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species . Version 2022-1. Available at: https://www.iucnredlist.org

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