Difference Between Red And Grey Kangaroo (The Answers Might Surprise You)

Kangaroo are one of the most recognizable animals in the world, they have some extremely distinctive features that make them both unique and exciting, however, you may not have known that there is actually a difference between red and grey kangaroos. 

When most people tend to think of kangaroos, they’re likely picturing a red kangaroo, they’re much larger than their grey counterparts, and tend to be the more common representation of kangaroos. 

Difference Between Red And Grey Kangaroo (The Answers Might Surprise You)

The difference between the two doesn’t stop at their sizes however, so if you want to know more about the differences between a red and grey kangaroo, then you should definitely keep reading to discover all there is to know about these amazing animals!

Before We Start

Before we begin comparing the two, we thought it would be best to provide you with a full breakdown of the characteristics and other information on both the red kangaroo and the grey kangaroo!

Red Kangaroo

Known as the largest mammal in the entirety of Australia, the red kangaroo, also known as the Macropus Rufus, are rather common across Australia, which is probably why they’re the most common image people have in their minds when they think of kangaroos!

When it comes to size, when a male red kangaroo is fully grown, they have the potential to weigh up to 135 kilograms, and they can have a body length of nearly 3 meters too, so you can certainly see why they’re the largest mammal in Australia. 

When it comes to their young, baby kangaroos are known as Joeys.

Typically, a Joey will spend 33 days in the womb as a foetus, before coming into the mother’s pouch as a neonate, where it will then spend 190 days feeding on the milk provided by the mother that oozes in the pouch on their front.

After this period of time has passed, the Joey will begin to stick their head out of their mother’s pouch, and will remain like this for around 30-40 days before they then leave their mother’s pouch permanently. 

In terms of their group size, the typical group size for red kangaroos is fairly small, and will only include 2 to 4 kangaroos within it.

Usually there will just be one male kangaroo in this group, which is known as the alpha male, and their sole reasoning for being in the group is for reproduction only.

The alpha male won’t clash with any younger male kangaroo in the group as there will be no fight over competition for females, but it isn’t uncommon for two young males to fight over the female kangaroo, although oestrous female kangaroo will usually opt for alpha males regardless. 

Grey Kangaroo

Whilst there is only one type of red kangaroo, there are actually two types of grey kangaroo, the Eastern grey, which is also known as the Macropus Giganteous and the Western grey, which is also known as the Macropus fuliginosus. 

Eastern grey kangaroos typically weigh around 65 kilograms on average, and typically have a body span of 2 meters.

In comparison, the Western grey kangaroo will weigh under 55 kilograms usually, and will have a body measuring somewhere between 85 to 100 centimeters in length, so both types of grey kangaroo are much smaller than red kangaroos are. 

Their habitats also differ depending on the type of grey kangaroo too.

Eastern grey kangaroos can be found in Victoria, New South Wales, and Eastern Queensland, whereas Western grey kangaroos are usually found in a small area encompassing Victoria, South Australia and South Queensland. 

Their young have a gestation period of around 30 to 31 days, but their neonatal period is much longer depending on the type of grey kangaroo.

Eastern grey neonates will spend up to 550 days in their mother’s pouch, but a Western greys will tend to only spend 130 to 150 days in the pouch. 

Their group sizes also differ greatly too, with Eastern grey kangaroo groups tending to only contain 2 to 3 females alongside their young. Whereas Western grey kangaroo groups can contain anywhere up to 15 males in them. 

What Are The Differences Between Red And Grey Kangaroo

What Are The Differences Between Red And Grey Kangaroo

As you can tell then, there are quite a few differences between red kangaroos and both types of grey kangaroos, so let’s look over them shall we? 

Size And Length

As previously mentioned, red kangaroos are the largest mammals in Australia, and when it comes to their size compared to grey kangaroos, the difference between the sizes is incredible.

They tend to be much, much longer than grey kangaroos, and red kangaroos can also weigh nearly double what grey kangaroos can. 


Another stark contrast between the two types of kangaroo is their habitat. Red kangaroos are found all over mainland Australia, and can be found in every state.

This is very different from grey kangaroo, as Eastern grey kangaroo tend to be found only in the East of the country, whilst Western grey kangaroo are exclusively found in the West of Australia, usually in a small stripe that runs from the south up the western parts of the mainland.  

Pregnancy And Birthing

All three different types of kangaroo have various different stages of development for their young.

For example, the joeys of red kangaroos will only remain in their mother’s pouches for about 190 days, whilst this period differs greatly for grey kangaroos.

Eastern grey kangaroo’s Joeys remain in their mother’s pouch for a massive 550 days, and Western grey kangaroo joeys will spend anywhere from 130 to 150 days in the pouch. 

Group Size

The group sizes between the types of kangaroo also varies massively as well. Western greys are known to have a much larger number of females in their group, and Eastern greys have slightly smaller female groups.

In contrast to this, red kangaroo groups can vary in size dramatically, and they’ll usually have an alpha male as part of their group as well. 


The speed of these animals is also incredible, and differs slightly from each type too.

Red kangaroos can run(hop) comfortably at around 16 MPH, but their fastest known speed can reach 44 MPH in short bursts too.

Western grey kangaroos are similarly in speed, comfortably hopping at an average speed of 12 MPH comfortably, but with top speeds of 35 MPH for shorter periods of time. 

Eastern grey kangaroos can reach similar speeds to their Western counterparts, with an average hopping speed of 15 MPH, and top speeds of 35 MPH as long as it’s not too long of a distance. 


To summarize, whilst you might not have initially thought there would be too much of a difference between red and grey kangaroos, the reality is that these different species actually differ from each other quite considerably, so if you didn’t know that there was a difference, you do know!

So from their size and weight, to where you can find them, as well as group size, both grey kangaroos and red kangaroos have a lot of differences!

Olivia Kepner