Red-Legged Pademelon

Red-Legged Pademelon

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Infraclass
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Thylogale stigmatica
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
9.7 yrs
WEIGHT
2.5-7 kg
HEIGHT
76 cm
LENGTH
35-58 cm

Pademelons are quite small wallabies with short tails. The compact body of this animal allows it to move through the dense rainforest understorey with incredible agility. The unique taxonomic position of these animals suggests that they probably have been the ancestors of Tree-kangaroos and Rock-wallabies a few million years ago. The Red-legged pademelon is a motley wallaby, exhibiting grey upper body, whitish underbelly as well as rufous red legs and face with a white colored band on the cheeks.

Distibution

Red-legged pademelons are endemic to Australia and New Guinea (Indonesia and Papua New Guinea). In New Guinea, these animals are found throughout the southern Fly River area, where they inhabit lowland rainforests and low mixed savanna thickets near swamps. The Australian population of this species occupies the area between the tip of Cape York to the southern portion of Tamworth. Red-legged pademelons also occur in rainforests, wet sclerophyll forests, and dry vine scrub forests on the eastern coast of Australia. Southern populations of pademelon live almost exclusively at the forest edge, while northern populations may also occur in inner parts of the forest.

Red-Legged Pademelon habitat map

Geography

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Red-legged pademelons are active during the daytime hours, while period of least activity is midnight as well as midday to early afternoon. They are generally solitary and tend to feed alone, but are known to form loose groups. During the night, they feed in these groups on the edge of the forest. They also socialize during the winter when sunbathing, gathering together in order to conserve heat. They usually use recesses in the ground as resting and sleeping spots. Feeding groups have a dominant pademelon, which controls the feeding process and makes sure that individuals feed at an equal distance from each other (typically 30-50 meters). When a feeding group is threatened, they flee to their shelters through special paths, which they make beforehand in order to easily escape predators.

Diet and Nutrition

Red-legged pademelons are herbivores (folivores and frugivore), they mainly consume fruits and fallen leaves, complementing their diet with bark, fresh leaves, fungus and cicadas.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
Year-round
PREGNANCY DURATION
28-30 days
BABY CARRYING
1 joey
INDEPENDENT AGE
31-35 weeks
BABY NAME
joey

Red-legged pademelons are polygynous animals. Males fight to defend their mating rights. During these confrontations, rivals stand upright on their hind legs and hold their heads back in order to protect their eyes. Each one tries to swing its claws at the opponent and knock it down, after which the winner will kick its rival in the abdomen. Red-legged pademelons breed year-round. After a gestation period of 28 to 30 days, a single joey is born. At 22 - 26 weeks old, young begin to come out of the pouch, leaving it permanently by 26–28 weeks. Meanwhile, they still feed upon maternal milk. The mother continues to protect her offspring, teaching them foraging skills and. Then, about 66 days after they leave the pouch, young pademelons start eating food. Sexual maturity is reached at 48 weeks old in females and by 66 weeks old - in males.

Population

Population threats

Presently, there are no notable threats to the population of this species. However, pademelons in New Guinea are hunted for their meat, while the Australian population of these animals may suffer from dog attacks and fragmentation of their forest habitat.

Population number

According to IUCN, the Ref-legged pademelon is locally common and widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC), although its numbers are decreasing.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • The scientific name of this animal is 'Thylogale stigmatica', meaning "prickled (pattern) pouched-weasel".
  • The word 'pademelon' derived from 'paddymalla', meaning 'small kangaroo from the forest' in the Aboriginal language.
  • Pademelons rest, leaned against a rock or a tree. They sit on the base of their tail, placing it between their hind legs. They usually sleep in the same position, though holding their head forward, so that it can rest on their tail or on the ground.
  • They use vocalizations as a form of communication with conspecifics. Males emit soft clucking call to attract receptive females. Meanwhile, a similar sound is produced by mother pademelons as they call their offspring.
  • When threatened, these animals give out an alarm call with their hind feet. This call serves as a collective signal for pademelons of the area, and they escape through their pre-made paths.
  • They thump their hind legs as a warning call when facing a predator, thus giving the alarm to not only conspecifics, but also all nearby animals.

References

1. Red-Legged Pademelon Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-legged_pademelon
2. Red-Legged Pademelon on The IUCN Red List site - http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/40574/0

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