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Difference Between Red and Grey Kangaroo

Red vs Grey Kangaroo

Kangaroos are one of the most iconic and unique animals in the world because of their specific distribution and characteristic features. Red kangaroo is the largest among all the kangaroos and the mostly referred one as well. On the other hand, grey kangaroo are of two species known as Western grey and Eastern grey. However, this article intends to compare and contrast red and grey kangaroos with regard to their physical characteristics, behaviours, distribution, and reproduction.

Red Kangaroo

Red kangaroo, Macropus rufus, is the largest mammal of Australia. A fully-grown adult male could weigh about 135 kilograms and the body length could measure up to three metres. Their distribution is quite wide and covers all the state territories on the Australian mainland. The foetus stays 33 days inside mother’s womb and comes out into the pouch as a neonate. Then, the neonate feeds on oozing milk inside the mother’s pouch for about 190 days. After that, the offspring or Joey sticks out the head from the pouch and live there for another 30 – 40 days and come out of mother permanently. Red kangaroos have small groups of 2 -4 members, but sometimes there could be more than that with males also. There could also be only one male in a group, known as the alpha male for reproductive purposes only. The male of these groups does not involve in fighting with youngsters as long as there is no competitor with him for the females. However, the younger males often clash with each other in boxing-type fights for females, but oestrous females usually prefer alpha males.

Grey Kangaroo

There are two species of grey kangaroos, Eastern grey (Macropus giganteous) and Western grey (Macropus fuliginosus). An Eastern grey could weigh a little over 65 kilograms and has a two-metre long body, while a Western grey weighs less than 55 kilograms with a 85 – 100 centimetres long body. Eastern greys range in the Eastern Queensland, New South Wales, and Victorian territories, while Western greys are ranging in Western Australia, through a small stripe running along South Australia, Victoria, up to Southern Queensland. The gestation periods in both greys are 30 – 31 days but the time duration inside mother’s pouch greatly differs within them. The neonates live much longer in Eastern greys up to 550 days inside the pouch, whereas in Western greys they live only 130 – 150 days there. Eastern grey kangaroos have small open-membership groups consisting only 2 -3 females with their young. Western grey kangaroos have larger groups up to 15 members of females.

What is the difference between Red and Grey Kangaroo?

• Red kangaroos have much longer bodies than grey kangaroos. Moreover, body weight of a red kangaroo is more than as twice as grey kangaroos.

• Red kangaroo has a wider home range covering all the states of Australian mainland, while Eastern grey kangaroo is a restricted species to the Eastern parts of the country. However, Western grey kangaroo mainly ranges in Western Australia and has a small stripe of range running through the southern and Eastern parts of the mainland.

• Eastern grey joeys stay 550 days inside mother’s pouch, while that figure for eastern grey is 130 – 150 days and 190 days for red kangaroo.

• Western greys have larger female groups, while Eastern greys have smaller female groups comparatively. However, red kangaroo groups could be either small or large in number and they might have an alpha male in a group.


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