Are Rabbits & Kangaroos Related? 10 Facts You Should Know

This is a rather popular question among people since rabbits and kangaroos do share some similarities, especially if we look at them closely in terms of their physical appearance.

Perhaps another reason why they are compared to each other is that both animals hop.

But we shouldn’t be too quick to classify them as animals that are closely related to each other just because they look alike and have the same gait.

The only way to find out the real answer behind the question “Are Rabbits and Kangaroos Related?” is to dig into their ancestry and families in the animal kingdom.

Are Rabbits And Kangaroos Related?

No, rabbits and kangaroos are not related at all.

These animals may share similarities when it comes to their physical appearance and gait, however, they are not related at all.

If anything, they are not related in the slightest bit, so that means they are hardly related to each other at all.

Why Aren’t They Related?

Both the rabbit and the kangaroo are not related to each other because first of all, rabbits are placental mammals while kangaroos fall under the category of being marsupial mammals.

To further elaborate the difference between a placental and a marsupial is, a placental mammal is characterized by having the ability to bear live young.

Placental Mammals

The live young that live inside placental animals are nourished before birth while they are inside the uterus of the mother, and in the uterus, there is an embryonic organ connected to it which is called the placenta.

The placenta comes from the very same membranes that are located around the embryos in the amniote eggs that are present in reptiles, monotreme mammals, and birds.

Do note that marsupials also have placentas, however, the difference is the placenta that marsupials have are short-lived, so the transference of nutrients is only a few as compared to placental mammals who get to transfer more nutrients to their young.

The animals that fall under the category of placental animals are cats, dogs, farm and work animals (cattle, horses, sheep), rodents, bats, and of course, humans.

Marsupial Mammals

The best way to describe marsupials is they are the animals that have pouches and inside those pouches is where mothers carry their young.

Marsupials are different from placental animals in terms of gestation time (gestation is the time between conception and birth).

Marsupial mammals actually give birth at an early stage where their young are not fully developed yet. In order for their young to actually develop and mature, the helpless embryo itself climbs out from its mother’s birth canal and goes straight for the nipples.

This is how the embryo develops and the span of its growth usually lasts for weeks up until months (the duration depends on the species).

The reason behind the short gestation time in marsupials is due to the size of their placenta (it’s only a yolk-sized placenta).

Placental mammals, on the other hand, supply their embryos with their own blood, which then makes room for longer gestation times.

8 Differences Between Rabbits And Kangaroos

Rabbits are placental mammals.Kangaroos are marsupial mammals.
Rabbits are seen and distributed all over the world but they seem to be an endangered species in Australia.Kangaroos are only seen in both Australia and New Guinea.
They have more than 50 species.They have more than 40 species.
Rabbits have no pouches. Rabbits are similar to cats when it comes to feeding them with their milk. Rabbits don’t lie down, instead, they stand over their young and nurse them.Kangaroos have pouches and inside these pouches are mammary glands. The mother kangaroo secretes milk and her Joey claws its way up to the nipple in order to get the nutrients it needs to mature and develop.
Rabbits are fast breeders. They give birth to more than one litter per year. Their gestation period only lasts for a month. They also get pregnant every 30 days.Kangaroos become sexually receptive even after giving birth to a neonate. Kangaroos can also give birth to two Joeys but not necessarily at the same time. Kangaroos can get pregnant again immediately after giving birth, and the second Joey that is to come would only mature after the most recent Joey fully reached its maturity.
Rabbits use all four of their feet and occasionally their hind legs as well.Kangaroos only use their hind feet.
Rabbits are relatively small and the maximum height of one is 0.5m and a weight of 2kgKangaroos are large in size. They typically have a height of 2m and they weigh approximately 90kg.
Rabbits are coprophagous mammals. Meaning, they eat their feces and the feces of other animalsKangaroos are not coprophagous mammals. This means they don’t eat their own feces and the feces of other animals.

2 Similarities Between Rabbits And Kangaroos

Rabbits are mammals.Kangaroos are mammals.
The means of locomotion for rabbits is by hopping. Rabbits use both their feet in order to perform a hop.The means of locomotion for kangaroos is by (bipedal) hopping. Kangaroos use both their hind legs to perform a bipedal hop.
Rabbits have strong hind legs.Kangaroos have strong hind legs.

Rabbits are not closely related to kangaroos at all.

For comparison, echidnas and platypuses are more closely related compared to rabbits and kangaroos.

Both the rabbit and the kangaroo don’t even come from the same family, so being closely related to each other is simply not possible.

Rabbits also fall under the lagomorph order and said order is closely related to rodents. Kangaroos on the other hand are macropods. Macropods literally mean “big foot”.

Are Rabbits And Kangaroos In The Same Family?

No, rabbits and kangaroos don’t belong in the same family.

Rabbits belong to the Leporidae family while kangaroos belong to the Macropodidae family.

The Leporidae family mainly consists of rabbits and hares. The number of species under this family is 54 and comes from 11 different genera.

The females in this family are also typically larger than males. Hares are used to running long distances while rabbits are used to running at short bursts which usually only cover a short distance.

The Leporidae family also has a wide geographic range.

They can be seen in almost every landmass on the planet, with a few exceptions of course, places such as southern South America, Madagascar, the West Indies, and the majority of the southeast islands of Asia have little to no Leporidae population.

However, they have been slowly introduced to the places aforementioned, that’s why they can be seen in such locations.

The Macropodidae family on the other hand consists of kangaroos, wallabies, and other relatives.

This family is the second largest family under the marsupial order. The sizes of the animals that belong in this family range from medium to large. Said animals also possess the characteristic of having long, and narrow hind feet, and strong hind limbs.

In terms of their geographic range, they can only be seen in most parts of Australia, New Guinea, and other nearby islands.

Are Rabbits A Type Of Kangaroo?

No, rabbits are not a type of kangaroo.

As previously mentioned, rabbits don’t even come from the same family as kangaroos, so they can’t be a type of kangaroo.

Did Kangaroos Evolve From Rabbits?

No, kangaroos didn’t evolve from rabbits and vice versa.

There may be a reason as to why some people believe that kangaroos evolved from rabbits and this comes from a kangaroo’s distant ancestor called the sthenurine kangaroos.

This type of kangaroo dates back to almost 15 million years ago. These kangaroos are huge and they weigh around 240kg!

Now the most intriguing part, the biggest reason why some people link kangaroos and rabbits to each other is that the sthenurine kangaroos’ faces appeared to be short, and they also used their arms to get access to bushes for food.

If you would look up a picture of the sthenurine kangaroo, then you would be surprised at how it resembles a normal rabbit that you see nowadays.

However, this doesn’t make them related to rabbits at all. This is simply how they looked like millions ago. Of course, animals adapt to their environment and after some time, adapting will lead to physical changes.

Moreover, another fun fact about this prehistoric kangaroo is that it didn’t hop when it came to its locomotive. These kangaroos actually walked on their two legs like humans.

This has been proven and backed up by Christine Janis, an academic from Brown University, who has studied the bone structure of the prehistoric kangaroo.

What Is The Closest Relative To A Rabbit?

The closest relative to a rabbit would be rodents.

These two animals are seen as being related to one another in terms of sister groups. This is why rodents are the closest relative to rabbits.

Also, it’s essential to note that closely related groups can drastically differ in terms of diversity.

Rabbits and other lagomorphs formerly belonged to the order Rodentia, but this soon changed after some time.

The key difference between rabbits and rodents is their incisors. Rabbits have four while rodents have two. Rabbits are completely herbivores while rodents sometimes indulge in consuming meat.

The animals that are closely related to kangaroos are wallabies, koalas, opossums, and wombats, and Tasmanian devils.

These are the only other animals closely related to kangaroos since they are also marsupials but they are not kangaroos.


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