Wallaby: Description, Species, Size, Habitat and Facts

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Wallaby

A wallaby is a macropod that is smaller than a kangaroo and from the scientific family Macropodidae, which means “big feet.”

Wallabies are mammals belonging to the infraclass of the marsupial or pouched family, which includes kangaroos, koalas, wombats, and opossums. The name wallaby originated from Dharug “walabi” amongst the Eora Aboriginal tribe from the coast of New South Wales.

The distinction between a wallaby and kangaroo is arbitrary and mostly in size.  In 1802 wallabies were collectively called bush kangaroos. There are 30 different species of wallaby, of which five have gone extinct.

Wallabies are native of Australia and Papua New Guinea widely distributed across Australia and neighboring islands. There are few populations in the United Kingdom and about 100 residing in the isle of man.

They can also be found in New Zealand, where they are considered as pests and being hunted.

Table of Contents

Scientific classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Family: Macropodidae
  • Genus: Macropus
  • Scientific name: Macropus

Wallaby Height/ weight

SizeHeight
Small/medium-sized wallaby1- 3½ft tall with their tail measuring about 10 – 29 inches in length.
Medium size Wallaby12 – 24inches ( 30cm – 104cm ) from head to tail
Large wallabyThe largest specie is 6feet from head to tail and 3feet tall

Wallabies weigh about  4 – 53pounds ( 2kg – 24kg )

Description

A wallaby’s face is elongated with a big jaw giving room for a series of large flat teeth.

A long pointed snout, large ears, and forelimbs are primarily used for feeding and powerful hind legs, which allow them to run at high speeds and jump bast distances.

They have large long thick tails which they use for balancing and propping up while sitting. They can be seen in different colors ranging from Grey, Brown, white, tan, red with fur skins.

Diet

Wallabies are herbivores; they feed mainly on plants, grasses, ferns, leaves, herbs, and various types of fruits. Their elongated and large flat teeth enable them to chew through vegetations.

Some wallabies like the Tamar wallaby, who  Live in areas with no freshwater depend on water from plant juice to quench their thirst. Wallabies feed at night,  early in the morning, and also around late evening.

Habitat

Wallaby

Wallabies prefer areas that are rugged, remote, and heavily forested. Few wallabies are found in plains and other open areas. Different species of wallabies live in different habitats.

Examples include these below.

  • Brush wallabies: These wallabies, which include 11 species, are members of the subgenus protemnodon and are mostly found in the brushlands of Southeastern Australia and Tasmania and in the open woods of coastal eastern Australia. They include the red-neck wallaby and pretty-faced wallaby.
  • Rock wallabies: Rock wallabies live near the water among rocks. These wallabies include six species belonging to the subgenus Petrogale distinguished by their brown, gray color with patches and stripes. Also, the nailed tailed species which fall into the subgenus Onychogalea and the hare wallabies of the subgenus Lagorchestes reside in the Rocky areas too.
  • Forest dwellers: Wallabies like the pademelons and Dorcopsulus live in the forest.

Wallabies tend to adapt to their specific habitat, thereby influencing their physical appearance. The average lifespan for a wallaby is about nine years; however wallabies that live in areas of human habitation, which includes predators, don’t survive Long.

Reproduction

Female wallabies become sexually matured at 12 months of age. For most species of wallaby, mating occurs between January and February with a gestation period of 28 days. However, these vary with species. A baby wallaby is known as a Joey, usually the size of a jellybean.

Wallabies Joey is born undeveloped and upon emerging, crawl into their mother’s pouch where they latch. Joey’s remain in their mother’s pouch for 250 days before leaving but are found of coming back to the pouch when faced with danger.

The female wallaby can become pregnant again, even with a Joey in her pouch. When this happens, the development of the embryo is paused till the Joey leaves the pouch. This is called embryonic diapause, common with marsupials.

Wallaby and predators

Wallabies are hunted by dingoes, Tasmanian devil’s, and wedged tailed eagles in the wild. Other predators like dogs, cats, and foxes have proven disastrous to wallabies.

Wallabies are also threatened by non-native species which compete with them for limited resources. Non-native herbivores like goat, cattle, and sheep have pushed them into endangered conservation status.

Facts about wallaby

  1. A male wallaby is called a Boomer; a Female wallaby is called a flyer while a baby wallaby is called a joey
  2. Wallabies are not a good option for pets and cannot be domesticated.
  3. Wallabies are grouped according to habitat, which includes brush wallabies, rock wallabies, nail-tailed wallabies, hare wallabies, and forest wallabies
  4. There are few natural predators of wallabies and also feral predators who have pushed them into endangered conservation statuses.
  5. Wallabies differ from kangaroos in size and also in their type of teeth with walla Wallabies having flatter teeth suitable for eating leaves.
  6. When in groups are called a mob, troupe or court.
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