Wallabies

Billabong Zoo, Port Macquarie, NSW Australia is home to three wallaby species:

Red-necked Wallaby | Swamp Wallaby | Red-necked Pademelon

RED-NECKED WALLABY

Macropus rufogriseus

Also knows Bennett’s Wallaby, the Red-necked Wallabies are named for the reddish fur on their napes and shoulders. The rest of the body is fawny grey with a white chest & belly. The tail is grey above & white below. The muzzle is dark brown & the ears are longer in proportion to other macropods. Males grow faster than females & can be up to twice as large. Because wallaby vocal cords are very undeveloped, their calls are simply growls, hisses & coughs.  Males make a soft clucking sound during sexual interactions. Males establish dominance via fighting. Red-necked Wallabies travel by hopping, although they are also good swimmers by using front & hind limbs “dog-paddle” style.

DISTRIBUTION & HABITAT 

This species is endemic to Australia where it ranges through the south-east of the country & is common in Tasmania . They prefer dry open forests with some brushy undergrowth, They are mostly solitary, but may aggregate to feed.

DIET

Commonly seen early mornings & late evenings, they are primarily grazers with grasses comprising the bulk of their diet but will also also eat broad-leafed plants.

LIFE EXPECTANCY & BREEDING

Females give birth to a single young weighing less than 1g at birth. The population on Tasmania breeds seasonally, while the mainland population breeds throughout the year. The gestation period is 30 days. Pouch life is about 280 days & weaning occurs at 12-17 months. In the wild they live between  10-15 years (6-15 years in captivity). Dingoes and Wedge-tailed Eagles are their chief predators.

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Red necked Wallaby fact sheet

SWAMP WALLABY

Wallabio bicolour

The Swamp Wallaby, also known as the black wallaby or black pademelon, is a small stocky macropod marsupial with dark brown fur, often with lighter rusty patches on the belly, chest & base of the ears. Body length 66 cm – 85 cm, tail up to 86cm.  Male Swamp Wallabies are larger than the females, with males reaching 21kg, in comparison to the female’s 15kg. They are solitary nocturnal animals. When moving fast they hold their heads low & tail horizontal, taking long, bounding leaps of up to 4 metres (13 feet).

Distribution & Habitat

They live in eastern Australia: in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and south-eastern South Australia. The preferred habitat of the Swamp Wallaby is thick forest undergrowth or sandstone heath.

Diet

The Swamp Wallaby is a herbivore (plant eater) feeding on a variety of plants including shrubs, grasses & ferns. The Swamp Wallaby has a broad fourth pre-molar tooth, which is never sheds; it is used for eating course plant material.

Life expectancy & Breeding

Lifespan of around 15 years.  Breeding occurs throughout the year. Females attain sexual maturity at around 15 months. Pregnancy usually lasts between 33 to 38 days, after which the young joey, weighing less than 1 gramme, will firmly attached to one of four teats in the mother’s pouch.  Young Swamp Wallabies will remain in the pouch for about 36 weeks, but will continue to suckle until the age of 15 months. Like many marsupials, female Swamp Wallabies can suckle two joeys of different ages. 

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Swamp Wallaby fact sheet

RED-NECKED PADEMELONS

Thylogale thetis

A pademelon (pronounced ‘paddymelon’) is a medium-sized, short-tailed, brownish-grey wallaby (a marsupial) that is paler on the belly, with distinct reddish neck and shoulders. The medium length fur is thick & soft; the underfur is long & grey.  The ears are long & the tail is held like a stiff rod when hopping. Males are significantly larger than females. Males grow to 9.1 kg (average 7.0 kg) and females to 4.3 kg (average 3.8 kg). The Red-necked Pademelon travels on all fours when moving slowly. A cautious animal which makes loud warning thumps with its hind feet.  Although primarily solitary they will congregate in groups of 10 animals when feeding away from the safety of the forest 

DISTRIBUTION & HABITAT 

They inhabit rainforests & wet eucalypt forests. A shy & mostly nocturnal species that rarely moves far from dense cover. They are endemic to eastern Australia, where it ranges from extreme south-east Queensland to central eastern New South Wales.

DIET

They spend the day resting in the forest before emerging in the evening along well established ‘paths’ into more open areas. They are a herbivores feeding on native shrubs & grasses.

LIFE EXPECTANCY & BREEDING 

Breeding can occur all year round but there is a peak of births in autumn and in spring with young reaching maturity at approximately 18 months of age. Males court females with a soft clucking vocalisation typical of many macropods. Females may exercise mate choice & be most receptive to large males. They are thought to  live up to 8 years in the wild.  Loss of habitat, dogs & feral cats are threats.

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Red-Necked Pademelons fact sheet