Kangaroo and wallaby

Kangaroos and wallabies are protected in the Northern Territory (NT). 

You should not interfere with these animals without a permit. Read more about wildlife permits.

There are 10 kangaroo and wallaby species in the NT. 

They are collectively known as macropods and are found in a range of habitats including rocky slopes, arid grasslands and monsoon forests.

Male kangaroos and wallabies are larger than females some even double the size. 

Breeding depends on food and water and can happen year round. 

Generally one joey is raised on milk for a number of months before coming out of the pouch to feed on grass and plants.

Dingoes and wedge-tailed eagles are the main predators of kangaroos and wallabies. Foxes also prey on smaller species.

Kangaroos and wallabies have cultural and dietary importance for Aboriginal people in the NT.

Feeding

Large macropod species feed mostly on grass. 

Small macropod species can be both browsers and grazers, and eat a mixture of vegetation, fruit, seeds and fungi.

They can travel large distances to find seasonal foods and water, often forming large groups around water holes. 

They will often feed along road verges, park lands and ovals where the grass is often maintained.

Threats

Kangaroos and wallabies are common on the edges of towns and farms. Urban kangaroos and wallabies are often victims of dog attacks and car strikes.

Feral cats, foxes and wild dogs are believed to have caused several local extinctions in southern wallaby populations, including around Uluru.

Interactions with people

Kangaroos and wallabies take advantage of reliable food and water supplies and well irrigated areas. Their digging and foraging can damage lawns and gardens, which can be a nuisance for communities.

Kangaroos and wallabies can be unpredictable and may injure people or vehicles if scared or harassed. 

Many kangaroos and wallabies are killed or injured on Territory roads each year, but joeys can often survive such incidences. 

Many joeys can be rehabilitated by carers and released back into the wild. Read more about caring for macropods.

Kangaroos and wallabies do not make good pets and you should never keep one.

Kangaroos and wallabies near your home

You can try any of the following to reduce problems with kangaroos and wallabies near your home:

  • install chicken wire or fencing around lawn and garden areas
  • install sensor or flood lights in affected areas in your backyard to put off kangaroos and wallabies
  • do not feed kangaroos and wallabies food such as bread it can turn individuals into problem animals, and can lead to:
    • major gum infections
    • health problems
    • death
  • remove or restrict water supplies in your backyard.

Avoid driving at dusk and dawn when kangaroos and wallabies are more active on roads.

If you hit a kangaroo or wallaby with your vehicle, you should move the animal at least 10m off the road and check the pouch for young. Read how to report injured wildlife.

Keep you dog or cat away from kangaroos and wallabies, especially at night.

Last updated: 27 June 2017