Dama wallaby, Darma wallaby
Like its family member the kangaroo, Tammar wallabies are marsupials (pouched mammals) and belong to the family of macropods ("large foot"). Basically, a wallaby is a macropod that is not big enough to be classed as a kangaroo. There is no clear distinction between these animals but in general, wallabies are smaller and stockier than kangaroos. Males have much larger forelimbs, and their claws are wider than those of females. Tammar wallabies have gray to yellow bellies and red legs. As with all marsupials, the female has a pouch in front of her abdomen where she nurses her young.
Tammar wallabies inhabit islands off the western and south Australian coasts. They live in regions of dense vegetation with bushes and low trees, in thickets and at the outskirts of forests.
Habits and lifestyle
Tammar wallabies are very social animals. They socialize, mate and feed in groups that have a hierarchical structure. These groups are called "mobs". More dominant individuals are usually males, and this dominance is determined by means of aggressive wrestling encounters, the victor being the highest ranking animal. The territory of a mob may be as large as 100 hectares and the peripheral areas may partly be shared with other mobs. Mobs consist of all ages and both genders and usually number up to 50 individuals. Tammar wallabies are nocturnal, resting during the day in low scrub, beginning to be active at dusk; they leave the scrub after dark and go back to it before dawn.
mob, troop, herd
Diet and nutrition
Tammar wallabies are polygynous, the dominant male usually controlling access to his females by first mating with and then guarding the females from other subordinate males. These wallabies are seasonal breeders. The gestation period is for 25 to 28 days. A single joey is born in late January until March. The joey stays in the pouch after birth. At around 200 days it starts to leave the pouch to eat grass. It still suckles, in a more forceful manner but not so often. By 250 days it has left the pouch, and at 300–350 days (or 10 to 11 months) it is fully weaned. A female joey is sexually mature at 9 months old and a male at 2 years old.
Habitat destruction and feral predators are the major threats to these animals. They are shot for commercial purposes and persecuted as an agricultural pest due to the damage they cause to cereal crops, and because they destroy fences, eat livestock food, and drink stock water.
According to IUCN Red List , the overall population of Tammar wallabies is estimated at 10,000-50,000 mature individuals. They are listed as least concern (LC), due to its abundant and presumably stable population.
Fun facts for kids
- The wallaby can survive in a dry habitat through drinking sea water if there is no fresh water available.
- The adult male is a "buck", "boomer" or "jack", and the adult female is a "doe", "flyer" or "jill".
- A group of wallabies can be known as a "troop" or "court".
- Tammar wallabies have their name because they were once commonly seen in tamma thickets.
- Tammar wallabies were the first "kangaroos" seen by Europeans, namely, the crew of the Batavia, a Dutch ship stranded in the Houtman Abrolhos near the Wallabi Islands off Geraldton, in 1629.
- At birth joeys are furless and blind and about as small as a jellybean.
- Wallabies are very good swimmers. On land, they are only able to move their back legs together but when they swim they can kick each one independently.