Wallaby

Yellow-Footed Rock Wallaby

This is one of the most brightly coloured members of the kangaroo family. Its population is declining, though, and is now among the most rare.

Living in a harsh environment means that the breeding cycle of these wallabies is strongly influenced by the availability of food. During periods of drought they can face starvation, and females may be unable to produce enough milk for their offspring. A lack of food will also delay the development of an embryo. Only once conditions improve will the pregnancy proceed. Females of wallaby often have a fertilized egg in their reproductive system.

Distribution: Occurs in eastern Australia, from southwestern Queensland down through western New South Wales to South Australia, occurring in rocky and mountainous areas.

Weight: 2.7 - 9kg (6 - 20 lb); males are bigger.

Length: 89 - 147 cm (35 - 58 in), including tail, which is almost as long as the body.

Maturity: Females 18 - 24 months; males about 20 months.

Gestation Period: 30 - 34 days.

Breeding: 1; the joey spends around 250 days in the pouch.

Food: Herbivorous, eating vegetation including plants, grass and even bark.

Lifespan: 12 - 18 years.

Upperparts

These are grey, with a blackish band extending from the nose and encircling the eyes.

Hind feet

The soles are covered with thick, rough skin to stop the wallaby from slipping.

Tail

The tail is long and does not taper significantly along its length. It is barred, with a dark tip.

DANGER ABOVE

Although they can outrun would-be terrestrial predators by their agility, these wallabies at risk from birds of prey.

These wallabies leap across rocky outcrops with ease, holding their front legs at right angles to steady themselves.

 

Rock Wallaby

Size: 50 - 80 cm (20 - 32 in); 3 - 9 kg (6.6 - 18 lb).

There are 14 species of rock wallaby, all from Australia and all characterized by long, powerful hind legs, long tails and large ears. These animals live in dry rocky habitats, close to cover. They are incredibly agile on cliffs and rocky outcrops. They can make leaps of 4 m (13 ft) and easily bound up the steepest slopes.

 

Pretty-Faced Wallaby

This wallaby lives in groups, or "mobs", comprising up to 80 individuals. It is also called the whiptail wallaby because of its long tail.

These wallabies tend to be found in a relatively specific environment, living in upland wooded areas of Australia. They are quite common through their range and face few dangers, other than attacks by dingoes, which are also widespread in this area. Pretty-faced wallabies can be seen throughout the day over the cooler winter period, but during the heat of summer they are more active in the early morning and at dusk, resting when the sun is at its hottest.

Distribution: Common on the eastern side of the Australian continent, ranging from around Cooktown in Queensland down to Grafton in New South Wales.

Weight: 7 - 26 kg (15 - 57 lb); males are bigger.

Length: 150 - 195 cm (59 - 77 in), including tail, which is almost as long as the body.

Maturity: Females 18 months - 2 years; males 2 years.

Gestation Period: 34 - 38 days; weighs 1 g (0.03 oz) at birth.

Breeding: 1; the joey spends around 275 days in the pouch.

Food: Grasses, ferns, other herbaceous plants.

Lifespan: Up to 14 years.

Colouration

The white stripe below the eyes, which distinguishes this species, contrasts with the brown colouration.

Hind feet

Three toes are present on each foot, the longest one in the middle.

Tail

This acts as a counterbalance, preventing the wallaby from toppling over.

Staying cool

In hot weather, these wallabies lick their forearms to keep cool.

ON THE MOVE

Wallabies rely on their strong hind legs to propel themselves along by hopping, with both legs moving together in harmony.

Gallery of Wallaby