Bennett's wallaby, Brush Wallaby, Eastern Brush Wallaby, Brush Kangaroo, Brusher, Red Wallaby
The Red-necked wallaby is a medium-sized macropod marsupia, common in the more temperate and fertile parts of eastern Australia, including Tasmania. Its name is due to the reddish fur on its shoulders and nape. The rest of its body is fawny gray, except for its white chest and belly. Its tail is gray on top and white below. Its paws are gray, with black at the ends. Its muzzle is dark brown. The ears of these wallabies are longer than those of others of the kangaroo family.
Red-necked wallabies live in eastern Australia from the New South Wales to Queensland border area, through to South Australia, and in Tasmania. There is also large introduced population in New Zealand where red-necked wallaby where declared a pest, and small colonies in Scotland, England, Ireland and France. Red-necked wallabies prefer subtropical, cool temperate, wet and dry sclerophyll forests, as well as woodland with adjoining grassy areas.
Habits and lifestyle
These wallabies are usually solitary but they may live in "mobs" or groups of up to 30 individuals. The males are aggressive towards each other and fight by “boxing” well after becoming fully mature. Wallabies have a hierarchy, usually with the larger ones being the more dominant. Grooming and play takes place amongst individuals of a similar ranking. These animals are mainly crepuscular, resting during daylight hours under cover, although they can often be seen foraging until late morning and starting to forage again late in the afternoon. Red-necked wallabies cool off by licking their paws and forearms when they are nervously excited or in hot weather. They are not very vocal, tending to use actions and body language to communicate. They growl, chatter and hiss if provoked.
mob, troop, herd
Diet and nutrition
Red-necked wallabies are grazers, and eat mostly grasses and herbs.
Red-necked wallabies are polygynandrous (promiscuous), when two or more males mate with two or more females. The breeding season takes place from December until May, but in areas with better resources can occur year round. Gestation lasts for 30 days and one young is born to each mating female. A newborn must crawl to its mother’s pouch, where it will nurse continually for about 7 months. The young are not very developed when born and they complete a large part of their growth in the pouch. At about 7 months old they are large enough to stay out of the pouch for a short time. They are completely weaned at the age of 10-12 months. Females may stay in their birth range for life but males leave when they are two years old. Females reach sexual maturity at about 14 months of age and males at 19 months.
There seem to be no big threats to this species. On Tasmania and New Zealand, however, these animals are sometimes killed under license due to being a pest of crops or pasture, and they are commercially harvested for meat.
The IUCN Red List and other sources do not provide the Red-necked wallaby total population size, but it appears to be stable. Currently this species is classified as least concern (LC).
Fun facts for kids
- Red-necked wallabies drink water if they need to. Juicy roots supply them with water during dry spells.
- Red-necked wallabies have acute hearing and poor eyesight.
- They are generally secretive animals, being sensitive to disturbance.
- Wallabies' teeth grow like an elephant's, with new molars pushing old ones out of the mouth eventually, and replacing them. During their lifetime they grow four sets of teeth.
- When alarmed, like rabbits, wallabies stamp their feet for several bounds, as a warning to others of potential danger.
- Wallabies swivel their ears to pick up very quiet sounds.
- Wallabies have stomachs with chambers. When they eat, they regurgitate food which is chewed and swallowed again.
- Red-necked wallabies are sometimes called Wallabia rufogrisea. The Tasmanian group is also called Bennett's wallaby.