Native to the eastern coast of Australia and were introduced to Kawau Island, New Zealand in 1965.
Moist eucalyptus forest with thick, shrubby understory, often with nearby grassy areas, rainforest margins and occasionally drier eucalyptus forest.
Parma wallabies are the smallest of the wallabies. Their fur is a uniform greyish-brown on their backs and shoulders with a dark stripe along their spines ending halfway down their backs. They have a white stripe on their cheeks and upper lips and white bellies. Their markings have resulted in their other common names the "white-fronted" or "white-throated" wallaby. Their tails are about the same length as their bodies and about 50 percent have white tail tips.
When hopping, these wallabies remain close to the ground in an almost horizontal position with the forearms tucked tightly against their bodies, and their tails curved upwards in a U-shape. Wallabies are bipeds, and primarily use their large, muscular rear legs for movement. They will, however, use their much smaller forelimbs to crawl when browsing, balancing on their tails and forearms while swinging their hind legs forward, and then bringing their forearms and tail upwards.
Their front paws lack thumbs. They are used mainly for holding food or grabbing another wallaby during breeding or fighting. Their large powerful tails are used for balance when hopping or grazing and as extra legs for balance while resting; while their large ears give them an excellent sense of directional hearing. Its sense of smell is also acute but like many nocturnal animals its eyesight is not very acute.
They are able to move their hind legs independently, although they usually move both rear legs together. They are excellent swimmers and use their hind legs independently of each other when swimming.
Parma wallabies are mostly solitary and usually active at night, sleeping during the day hidden in dense vegetation. They travel along well designated pathways to graze in their favorite grassy areas.They are normally active until early the next morning. Like many other plant eating mammals Parma wallabies use micro-organisms in their hind-gut to help them digest their food.
Their ability to move easily for long distances and to escape predators by unpredictable hopping rather than speed is important to their survival. As they hop, the tail moves up and down and helps the wallabies pump air in and out of their lungs, saving energy. In addition, the design of the tail and leg tendons allows them to store energy in the tendons (much like energy stored in the spring of a pogo stick or rubber of a bouncing ball) allowing them to use less energy as they maintain cruising speed.
Parma Wallabies are generally solitary although two or three individuals may come together from time to time to form small groups. There is no real social organization with both sexes and all ages interact equally. Parma wallabies communicate predominately with visual clues such as stamping, quivering and tail wagging. Scent is an important communication source during mating season. They also communicate using vocal sounds such as hissing, clucking and coughing.
Females reach sexual maturity around 16 months, while males reach maturity between 20-24 months. Starting at sexual maturity, female wallabies are in estrus one day every 30 days. They tend to breed from March to July in the wild with one “joey” being born into the pouch after a gestation of 35 days. The female can become pregnant again just two days after giving birth. The newly fertilized embryo will only partially develop and will then remain in stasis until the existing “joey” leaves the pouch at around 30 weeks. Although the elder “joey” will continue to feed by putting its head in the pouch, the new embryo is then able to continue its development.
During birth female wallabies remain still, with their tails tucked between their legs, until the offspring has safely attached to the female’s teat, within the pouch. After the elder “joey” leaves the pouch, the mother produces two different types of milk with different, appropriate nutrient levels corresponding with each offspring’s developmental needs. After 44 weeks the joey is completely independent of the female parent.
Parma wallabies are the smallest member of the Macropus family of kangaroos. The largest is the red kangaroo which is 10 times the weight of the Parma wallaby.
Wallabies and kangaroos are Australia’s ecological equivalents of ungulates here in North America, such as antelope and deer, both having specialized limbs for running (in this case, hopping) and specialized dentition for their similar diet.
Parma wallabies were believed to have become extinct in the early part of last century. They were then discovered to be thriving on an island in New Zealand, where they had been introduced. Great efforts were then made to transport some of these animals back to Australia for a captive breeding and reintroduction program. In the 1970’s, a wild population was rediscovered near Gosford, New South Wales and continues to survive.
Parma wallabies are rarely seen in the wild and there is little information on the density and stability of known populations. Due to their restricted range and the continuing pressures on their habitat due to development and over grazing, the parma wallaby is a species vulnerable to extinction
|Length:||Body is 1.5-2 feet long. Tail is about equal to body length. .|
|Weight:||Between 7 and 12 pounds; males are heavier than females.|
|Average Lifespan:||In the wild, the expected lifespan is 6 to 8 years. In captivity, their expected lifespan is 11 to 1|
|Wild Diet:||Herbivorous. Feed on grasses and herbs.|
|Predators:||Feral cats, dingos and foxes.|
|This is an SSP animal|
|CITES Status:||Listed as|
|Where at the Zoo?||Small Animal Building|