To be fair, kangaroos and wallabies are similar. They both belong to the family Macropodinae (named for their characteristic big feet). Both are marsupials. Like kangaroos, wallaby mothers have short pregnancies. When the babies are born, they climb into the mother’s pouch and attach to a nipple until they finish developing.
Also like kangaroos, wallabies are herbivores that are most active at dawn and dusk.
Now for the differences: wallabies are smaller, typically the size of a medium dog. Depending on the type of wallaby, they can weigh anywhere from 4 to 53 pounds.
The teeth of a wallaby are different as well. A kangaroo’s teeth are designed for cutting through tall grass. A wallaby has a much wider diet, browsing on both shrubs and grasses. Its teeth are made more for crunching and grinding.
Here are five fast facts about wallabies:
- The biggest threats to wallabies are farming, grazing, and urban development, which swallows up their habitat. Foxes, wild dogs, and feral cats also prey on wallabies.
- The name “wallaby” comes from the indigenous words “walabi” or “waliba.”
- About 30 types of wallabies live all over Australia. The types are roughly separated into the type of habitat they prefer, including brush, rock, and swamp wallabies.
- The average lifespan of a wallaby is from 9 to 15 years.
- When wallabies sense danger, they thump one foot on the ground to warn others in the mob.