Last Reviewed and Updated on August 13, 2022
If you thought there was only one type of kangaroo, think again! Let’s take a closer look at the four different types of kangaroos that live in Australia, along with photos of each of the four species. From the smallest and most delicate to the largest and most powerful, get to know these amazing creatures!
Types of Kangaroos
There are four types of kangaroos: the red kangaroo, the western grey kangaroo, the eastern grey kangaroo, and the antilopine kangaroo. Each type of kangaroo is different in size, habitat, and diet.
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1. Red Kangaroo (Osphranter rufus)
The Red Kangaroo is the largest of all kangaroos, with males reaching up to about 5.9 feet / 1.8 m – with the largest confirmed male kangaroo being measured at about 6.9 ft / 2.1 meters in height.
The male of this species has short red-brown fur, with lighter brownish yellow color below and on the limbs. Females, on the other hand, are blue-gray with a brown tinge and pale gray below. Arid zone females nave a more similar fur color to males.
The Red Kangaroo is found throughout most of Australia in open woodlands and plains.
The Red Kangaroo is a grazer, feeding primarily on grasses as well as other plants. They can get most of their water from the food they eat, which makes it easier for them to survive in an arid environment.
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Red Kangaroos are very social animals, living in groups called mobs. Mobs can be made up of just a few kangaroos or hundreds of animals.
The Red Kangaroo is also the symbol of Australia, appearing on the Australian coat of arms.
2. Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus)
Eastern grey kangaroos can be found in the Eastern third of Australia. It is the second largest of all types of kangaroos, as red kangaroos tend to be a lot heavier.
You will recognize them by their soft grey coat. These kangaroos are the most encountered in Australia.
Eastern grey kangaroos are social animals and live in groups called mobs. These groups usually consist of three members.
At night, eastern grey kangaroos will feed on the grasses that they couldn’t reach during the day. They will also travel long distances to find new sources of food.
There are two subspecies;
- Macropus giganteus giganteus – these can be found in eastern and central Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and southeastern South Australia
- Macropus giganteus tasmaniensis – the Forester Kangaroo which is endemic to Tasmania
3. Western Grey Kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus)
They are found in open woodlands and grasslands in almost the entire parts of Southern Australia. In some regions, it shares its habitat with the Eastern grey kangaroo.
They are mostly pale grey to brown, with a lighter color on the belly, chest, and throat.
There is a visual difference between the male and the female, as males tend to be up to twice the size of females.
Western Grey Kangaroos are herbivores. They eat grasses, leaves, and shrubs. They also eat insects and small reptiles.
The western grey kangaroo lives in groups of up to 15.
There are two subspecies;
- Macropus fuliginosus fuliginosus – commonly known as the Kangaroo Island western grey kangaroo or simply Kangaroo Island grey kangaroo, these are endemic to Kangaroo Island
- Macropus fuliginosus melanops
4. Antilopine Kangaroo (Osphranter antilopinus)
You can spot an antilopine kangaroo almost across the entire northern coast of Australia.
As with other kangaroos, these animals are relatively large as well. They have short fur – with males having slightly reddish fur. Females have a similar coloration but do have more grayish fur at the head and shoulders.
They are social and live in groups with up to 30 individuals.