Bridled Nail-Tail Wallaby

Bridled Nail-Tail Wallaby

Bridled wallaby, Flash jack, Merrin, Waistcoat wallaby

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Infraclass
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Onychogalea fraenata
Population size
below 1,100
Life Span
6-12 yrs
WEIGHT
4-8 kg
LENGTH
1 m

The Bridled nail-tail wallaby is called so due to the white ‘bridle’ band, stretching down from the center of the animal's neck on both sides behind the forearm as well as the horny nail-like point on the tip of the tail. Males, females and juveniles look alike. Being one of three nail-tail wallabies, the animal is currently one of two existing species of the genus. As other wallaby species, the Bridled nail-tail wallaby is hunched. The animal is given the nickname 'flash jack' because of the muscular thighs and large hind legs, enabling the wallaby to hop very quickly. The overall coloration of the animal is generally grey; the feet, paws and tail are darker while the chest is lighter in color. The tail is long whereas the forearms are comparatively small and unspecialized with broad palms. On each leg, the animal has 5 digits, equipped with strong claws, which help the wallaby in grooming, opening the pouch or grabbing food.

Distibution

The bridled nail-tail wallaby is native Australian animal, inhabiting semi-arid regions and preferring Acacia shrub land and grassy woodland habitats. The natural range of the species is Taunton National Park, located near the city Dingo in central Queensland. A part of the population has been translocated and as a result, in Queensland there are currently two other self-sustaining populations of the species, found in Idalia National Park and Avocet Nature Refuge.

Bridled Nail-Tail Wallaby habitat map

Geography

Continents
Countries

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

These wallabies are nocturnal animals. They start feeding at dusk, usually coming out to open grassy woodlands at the nighttime hours. During most of the daytime hours the wallabies find shelter in shallow nests, located beneath tussocks of grass or bushes. Normally, Bridled nail-tail wallaby is a shy animal, living solitarily. However, in times of grazing shortage the animals can be observed feeding in small groups, consisting of up to 4 wallabies. Unlike other macropods, this animal prefers hiding instead of fleeing when threatened. When caught in open grassland, the wallaby typically takes prone position, remaining motionless in order to be unspotted.

Diet and Nutrition

Bridled nail-tail wallabies are herbivorous (folivorous). Their diet includes a wide variety of grasses, forbes as well as woody browse.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
Year-round
PREGNANCY DURATION
24 days
BABY CARRYING
1 joey
INDEPENDENT AGE
120 days
FEMALE NAME
jill, roo
MALE NAME
jack, boomer
BABY NAME
joey

Bridled nail-tailed wallabies are polygynous, which means that one male mates with multiple females. The Bridled nail-tailed wallabies breed all year round. However, offspring can usually be observed at the end of spring and during the summer, which coincides with period of the highest plant growth. After 24 days of gestation, the newborn baby lives in the pouch of its mother for approximately 120 days. A single young is born at a time. If conditions are suitable in the wild, Bridled nail-tail wallabies can raise up to three young per year. As soon as the offspring come out of the pouch, the mother hides the baby in low and dense vegetation, where the young usually stays at the resting periods during the day. Male wallabies are sexually mature within around 270 days, while females - earlier - in 136 days.

Population

Population threats

Currently, the species is absent on 95% of its original area of distribution. In the beginning of 1990s, the Bridled nail-tail wallabies were killed in large numbers as pests and for fur. Nowadays, the species greatly suffers from loss and modification of its natural habitat due to land clearing, fires and emersion of non-native weeds. The wallaby is hunted by wild dogs, feral cats and foxes. In addition, the Bridled nail-tail wallaby competes for food with rabbits as well as sheep and other introduced livestock.

Population number

According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of the Bridled nail-tail wallaby is less than 1,100 mature individuals, including about 450 individuals in Idalia National Park. Although numbers of this species are stable today, it is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • The word 'wallaby' was originally used by the Eora Aboriginal tribe - aboriginal people of Sydney, Australia area.
  • It is believed that these animals have no water requirements, since they get all required moisture from their food.
  • Presently, the purpose of the nail-like point at the end of the wallaby’s tail is still unknown. However, it is thought to help keep balance or change direction, when the animal quickly moves around amongst trees.
  • The animal has a very keen sense of hearing, enabling the wallaby to hear any approaching object even from afar.
  • According to zoologists, the Bridled nail-tail wallabies most commonly use visual and olfactory signaling as forms of communication between each other, followed by auditory and tactile methods down the scale. When threatened or alarmed, the animal adopts a frozen stance, after which it warns members of the group about the threat by foot thumping, just like a drummer, though usually making only 1-2 beats. Some species hiss and snort while making foot thumps. Not only do the wallabies make beats with their hind legs, but they also use them as a mean of self-defense, kicking predators.

References

1. Bridled Nail-Tail Wallaby Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridled_nail-tail_wallaby
2. Bridled Nail-Tail Wallaby on The IUCN Red List site - http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/15330/0

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