Swamp Wallaby

Swamp Wallaby

Black wallaby, Black-tailed wallaby, Fern wallaby, Black pademelon, Stinker (in Queensland), Black stinker

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Infraclass
Family
Subfamily
Genus
SPECIES
Wallabia bicolor
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
15 yrs
WEIGHT
13-17 kg
LENGTH
70-76 cm

The only living species of the Wallabia genus, this small marsupial is covered with dark brown fur, exhibiting lighter rusty markings on the belly, chest and base of the ears. The Swamp wallaby is endemic to the eastern regions of Australia. This animal has occasionally been taken for a panther due to the dark coloration of its fur and a long black tail, which strike the eye unlike the hindquarters of this animal, which are often difficult to see in the dense cover of the Australian bush.

Distibution

These animals are distributed throughout the eastern coast of Australia, including southeastern South Australia, Victoria, eastern Queensland and eastern New South Wales. The Swamp wallabies can live in various habitats. However, they usually prefer dense forests, woodlands and swampy areas. They generally avoid open environments, unless there are nearby areas with thick brush growth.

Swamp Wallaby habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Swamp wallabies are solitary animals. They do not appear to be territorial. These wallabies have been seen feeding together with other unrelated species without showing any territorial behavior. Home range of a Swamp wallaby is typically 16 ha, often overlapping with these of conspecifics. Swamp wallabies usually spend their daytime hours resting in under-storey and sheltered areas with dense vegetation. At dusk, these nocturnal animals come out to graze in open grasslands. In order to move fast, they take long leaps while holding their tails horizontal and their heads low. Meanwhile, they seem to be poorly coordinated when moving slowly.

Diet and Nutrition

Swamp wallaby is an herbivore. The animal mainly consumes soft plant materials, including grasses, leaves, shrubs, buds and ferns.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
Year-round
PREGNANCY DURATION
33-38 days
BABY CARRYING
1 joey
INDEPENDENT AGE
15 months
FEMALE NAME
jill, roo
MALE NAME
jack, boomer
BABY NAME
joey

Swamp wallabies are polygynous. Males of this species tend to look for receptive females and mate with them in foraging areas instead of finding them in sheltered areas during the daytime hours. Male wallabies fiercely compete with each other for their mating rights. These confrontations end with short kicking attacks, defining the winning male, which is usually the larger individual. Swamp wallabies mate throughout the year rather than having a specific mating season. Gestation period lasts for 33 - 38 days, yielding a single baby, which remains in the pouch of its mother for around 36 weeks after birth. Young wallabies feed upon maternal milk for up to 15 months, reaching maturity within 15 - 18 months.

Population

Population threats

Swamp wallaby has suffered from destruction of its natural habitat, which has had a negative impact on the overall population of this animal. In addition, due to destroying crops, Swamp wallaby has also been killed by farmers as a pest.

Population number

According to IUCN, the Swamp wallaby is common and widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC), and its numbers are increasing.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • This animal is one of a few macropod species with webbed feet.
  • When scared, Swamp wallaby will panic and run. There have been known cases of wallabies jumping off cliffs or running in front of cars.
  • The word "wallaby" derives from the language of Eora tribe, who were the aboriginal people of Sydney area (Australia).
  • In spite of easily moving forwards, these animals, however, are not able to hop backwards.
  • While in the water, these excellent swimmers move with a ‘doggy’ paddle style and are capable of moving their hind legs independently. However, when on land, they are only able to move their legs together.
  • Females of this species have an amazing ability of producing two different types of milk in each teat, intended for babies of different ages such as a developing joey and a larger joey. Each of the babies suckles on a different teat, getting the right milk.

References

1. Swamp Wallaby Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swamp_wallaby
2. Swamp Wallaby on the IUCN Red List site - http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/40575/0

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