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Monday, August 11, 2014

Species Fact Profile: Red-Necked Wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus)

Red-Necked Wallaby
Macropus rufogriseus (Desmarest, 1817)

Range: Eastern Australia, Tasmania
Habitat: Eucalypt Forest, Shrubland, Heath
Diet: Grasses, Herbs, Roots
Social Grouping: Solitary, Small Groups
Reproduction: Mainland population breeds year round, in later summer on Tasmania; single joey born after 30 day gestation period, spends an additional 280 days in the pouch.  Males are mature at 19 months, females at 14 months
Lifespan: 15 Years (Wild)
Conservation Status: IUCN Least Concern

  • Head-body length 90-105 centimeters, tail length 70-75 centimeters, weight 13.5-18.5 kilograms; males are larger than females
  • Fur is fawn grey with reddish tint on the neck and shoulders; the muzzle is a darker brown, while the tail is white below
  • Crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk) - spend most of the day under cover; they cool themselves by spreading saliva over their bodies and licking their forearms
  • During drought, may obtain moisture from the roots in the diet
  • Outside of the native range, the species has been introduced to New Zealand's South Island, along with many Bass Strait Islands (though it is possibly a native here).  Small feral populations, believed to have been established from escaped pets and zoo animals, are present in the United Kingdom and in France
  • Two subspecies are described: the Tasmanian form (sometimes called "Bennett's wallaby"), which is smaller with longer, denser fur) and the mainland form M. r. banksianus.  Sometimes a third subspecies, M. r. fruticus, is recognized
  • Hunted for its fur and meat, the wallaby is also persecuted by ranchers who feel it competes with their cattle and sheep; it is still abundant in much of its range, and can be legally culled as a pest or hunted during an open season in Tasmania

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