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What is the difference between Kangaroos and Wallabies?

What is the difference between Kangaroos and Wallabies?

Guests on our tours often ask – what is the difference between kangaroos and wallabies? They seem to be very similar animals – they look alike, they both jump, they both have pouches. But there are a few key differences which we will outline below.


The key difference between kangaroos and wallabies is the size. Kangaroos are usually larger than wallabies. But kangaroos also have more height between their ankles and knees, which sometimes make their legs seem out of proportion to its body. But they need this extra length frm strength and when travelling long distances. Wallabies tend to have more compact legs which appear shorter.


A good way to tell the two apart is by their colour. Wallabies generally have a bright and colourful coat, with different markings. Whereas kangaroos tend to have more basic colours in muted tones, like grey and brown.

Teeth and Diet

If you can get close enough to the kangaroos and wallabies to see their teeth, you would notice some more key differences. Kangaroos teeth are curved so that they can cut up the grass that the like to feast on. Wallabies have a more varied diet and therefore flatter teeth, as they often need to grind up leaves, flowers or roots.

On the Great Ocean Road

Eastern Grey Kangaroos can be found along the Great Ocean Road. You sometimes see them in the evenings, grazing in open grassland. Swamp Wallabies can also be spotted along the Ocean Road, usually when driving through the Otway Ranges, as they like to live in more dense forest.

At Moonlit Sanctuary

Our Phillip Island Day tour and Afternoon tour both visit Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park, where you can hand-feed kangaroos and wallabies. This is a great chance to get up close and notice the difference in their shape, size and colouring. You may even notice the difference in their teeth as they come up to eat from the palm of your hand!