Yellow-Footed Rock-Wallaby

Yellow-Footed Rock-Wallaby

Ring-tailed rock-wallaby

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Infraclass
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Petrogale xanthopus
Population size
below 10,000
Life Span
12-18 yrs
WEIGHT
7-13 kg
HEIGHT
60 cm

The largest rock-wallaby, this animal is distinguished from other species of the genus by bright color of its fur as well as distinctive patterning. The overall color of its body is fawn grey. The underside is pale, exhibiting a white colored band, stretching down the side. The feet, hind legs and forearms of the Yellow-footed rock wallaby vary in color from a rich orange to yellow. As a matter of fact, bright coloration of this animal serves as a camouflage against the patterns of light and shadow that falls on the red rocks, which are the natural habitat of this animal.

Distibution

This wallabies are endemic only to Australia, where the animals live in scattered populations throughout the states of South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland. The Yellow-footed rock-wallabies usually occur on rocky outcrops in semi-arid areas, staying close to a constant source of water.

Yellow-Footed Rock-Wallaby habitat map

Geography

Continents
Countries

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

The wallabies are sociable animals, known to form groups of more than 100 individuals. However, regular number of their groups is usually less than 20 wallabies, including multiple breeding females with their young, the dominant male and a few sub-dominant males. The dominant male drives young males out of the colony site, whereas young females usually stay there. Yellow-footed rock-wallabies are likely to be nocturnal, remaining hidden in rock crevices and caves during the daytime hours and sometimes coming out for sunbathing. In addition, some individuals in captivity are known to be active by day. They move around by jumping from rock to rock, making long leaps of up to 4 meters. They are also capable of climbing up tree trunks and even steep faces of rocky cliffs.

Diet and Nutrition

The usual diet of this herbivorous wallaby consists of grasses. During periods of drought, the animal mainly consumes leaves of trees and shrubs.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
do not have any specific mating season
PREGNANCY DURATION
31-32 days
BABY CARRYING
1 joey
INDEPENDENT AGE
201-204 days
FEMALE NAME
jill, roo
MALE NAME
jack, boomer
BABY NAME
joey

These wallabies have polygynous mating system, where male individuals compete with each other for their mating rights. Mating males and females practice olfactory courtship ritual. The Yellow-footed rock-wallabies do not have any specific mating season. However, the number of births appears to be higher during increased availability of food, which occurs at rainfall. Gestation period lasts for 31 - 32 days, yielding a single baby, sometimes twins. The newborn baby lives for around 194 days in the pouch of its mother. The young remains close to its mother for 7 - 10 days after leaving the pouch in order to return in case of danger. It continues to eat maternal milk for a few months after coming out of the pouch, but is physically on its own. Sexual maturity is reached by 18 months old.

Population

Population threats

One of the major concerns to the population of this Near Threatened species is competition rabbits, sheep, goats and other introduced herbivores. The animals are also prey species for foxes and occasionally, for wedge-tailed eagles. The Yellow-footed rock-wallabies (especially small populations) are nowadays exposed to wildfires and outbreaks of various diseases. In addition, these wallabies suffer from fragmentation of their natural habitat.

Population number

According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of the Yellow-footed rock-wallaby is less than 10,000 mature individuals, including 6,000 individuals, currently living in South Australia, as well as less than 100 individuals in New South Wales. This species is presently classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • These wallabies are the only species of mammal, known to transfer water from their mouths to their offspring.
  • As opposed to kangaroos, a young wallaby does not follow around its mother after leaving the pouch. Instead, it remains waiting for its mother in a secluded place in the rocks, while she forages to provide the joey with food.
  • Grooming is a common activity between mothers and their young. They play with each other and communicate through clucking and grunting.
  • Due to the thick and rough skin on their feet, these wallabies are able to grip onto steep surfaces without slipping. This amazing ability is especially useful when the animal hops among boulders and crevices.
  • During occasional summer rainstorms, Yellow-footed rock-wallabies are able to drink as much water as 10% of their body weight in just 7 minutes, while other species of the area usually use the salty creek runoff.
  • The word "wallaby" derives from the language of Eora tribe, who were the aborigines of the Sydney area (Australia).

References

1. Yellow-Footed Rock-Wallaby Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow-footed_rock-wallaby
2. Yellow-Footed Rock-Wallaby on The IUCN Red List site - http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/16750/0

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