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Tammar Wallaby

Range:

Southwestern and South Australia and some coastal islands


Habitat:

Lives in coastal scrub, heath, dry leafy forest and thickets.


Characteristics:

Tammar wallabies have a short and sleek coat, which is dark, greyish brown above, becoming reddish on the sides of the body and limbs, and pale-tan below. Their hind limbs are much larger and more muscled than their forelimbs. They use their tail to balance when sitting and as rudder and balance when jumping.

Related to kangaroos, wallabies are marsupials or pouched mammals. The females have the pouch with four mammary glands. They are members of the macro-pod family. This means they have large feet. Wallaby is the grouping given to any macro-pod that is not large enough to be classified as a kangaroo. Scientists do not have a defined distinction between the two groups. In general, a wallaby is smaller and stockier than a kangaroo.

Males have considerably larger forelimbs and wider claws than the females. This is the smallest species of wallaby.


Tammar Wallaby Click to View Bigger Picture

Behavior:

They spend their day at rest under dense vegetation and emerge to feed after dark in grassy areas, returning to the brush before dawn.

They are a very social species. These wallabies socialize, feed, and mate in groups with a hierarchical dominance structure. These groupings are called "mobs". Mobs are comprised of all ages and sexes and usually have up to 50 members.

Higher ranking individuals are usually males. Dominance is determined through aggressive encounters, and the victor is the highest ranking individual. Males wrestle with one another until one proves he is the strongest male. The strongest male then has a good chance of mating with females and, ultimately, reproducing.

An individual's position in the hierarchy is generally based on size, which in turn is correlated with fighting ability. Those that are larger and have stronger forelimbs are more likely to win in a dominance battle.


Reproduction:

This wallaby is one of only two kangaroo species with a seasonal breeding pattern. After a gestation of about 28 days a female gives birth to a single joey sometime between late January and March. The joey will climb into the pouch and attach its mouth to a teat to continue developing over several months. Within a few hours of giving birth the female mates again. The resulting embryo's development will pause until the current joey finishes suckling and leaves the pouch, a phenomenon called embryonic diapause. The babies are suckled in the pouch for eight to nine months.

Females become sexually mature at about nine months of age. They reach maturity while they are still suckling, but males do not become mature until they are nearly two years old.


Interesting Facts:

• The tammar wallaby is one of more than 50 species in the family Macropodidae (kangaroos and wallabies), all of which live in Australia, New Guinea, and on nearby islands.

• Macropodidae means "big feet."

• The adult male wallaby is called a buck, boomer or jack – while the adult female wallaby is called a doe, flyer or jill.

• A group of wallabies is called a mob, troop or court.

• Some Australian scientists claim to have found a protein compound in the milk of the tammar wallaby called AGG01 which has the potential to be a “miracle cure.” In fact, research is showing it to be 100 times more effective than penicillin, killing over 99% of the pathogenic bacteria (both gram-positive and gram–negative) and fungus that it was incubated with, including Salmonella, Proteus vulgaris and golden staphylococcus.


Tammar Wallaby Click to View Bigger Picture

Conservation:

Although their population is currently considered stable, the introduction of livestock to their habitat has reduced the natural grassland vegetation, rendering it inhabitable for the wallabies. They are also being threatened by the introduction of new species such as rabbits. They reproduce quickly and compete for the same food kangaroos and wallabies depend upon.

Tamar wallabies continue to be shot for commercial purposes and for pest control. Kangaroos and wallabies damage cereal crops, eat livestock food, drink stock water and destroy fences.


Tammar Wallaby
Range
Class: mammal
Order: Marsupialia
Family: Macropodidae
Genus: Macropus
Species: eugenii
Length: Measure 30 inches from tip of nose to tip of tail.
Weight: Males weigh up to 20 pounds. Females weigh up to 15 pounds.
Length: Measure 30 inches from tip of nose to tip of tail.
Average Lifespan: Live about nine years.
Wild Diet: Tammar wallabies are herbivorous, mainly grazing on grass and leaves. Some live in areas with almost no fresh water. To survive they take in moisture from salty sea plant juices and they can even drink sea water.
Predators: Dingos and raptors are the main predator of these animals.
Where at the Zoo? Small Animal Building


Learn more about mammal or animals from Australasia!
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