Backyard Buddies
Wallaby

Photo: Peter Sherratt

Wallaby

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Although not common to most suburban backyards, wallabies will visit backyards that are near bushland and will certainly frequently visit those lucky enough to have big backyards. Wallabies are marsupials that belong to the animal group Macropods which means 'large footed'. Other macropods include kangaroos, pademelons, wallaroos and tree-kangaroos. There are about 30 wallaby species in Australia.

Wallabies have very powerful tails and back legs. They use their tails for balance and for support when sitting down. They can move at high speed and jump long distances with their back legs, which are also used by males when fighting to kick each other.

Wallabies breed between January and February. After 28 days, the single new-born joey will crawl into its mothers pouch for at least 2 months. They will stay in the pouch while they grow for another 7 months.

A female wallaby can become pregnant while she still has a joey in her pouch. If this happens, the new embryo will not develop until the joey leaves the pouch, a phenomenon called embryonic diapause.

Drought has been bringing wallabies and kangaroos closer to towns in search of food and water. The most common ones you might see are Red-necked wallabies, Swamp Wallabies and Eastern Grey Kangaroos.

Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies are easily recognised by their long, bushy, dark brown tail that is bushier towards the tip. It has pale belly fur, a white cheek strip and a black stripe on its forehead. It is a small and muscular wallaby and is well at home in its rocky habitat.

They live in south-east Queensland all the way down to the Grampians in western Victoria, in rocky outcrops, escarpments and cliffs with caves and ledges.

During the day they hide amongst their rocky habitat or bask in the sunlight. They are most active at night when they eat grasses, leaves and fruits that grow nearby.

The Swamp Wallaby, or Black Wallaby, lives in eastern Australia in thick forested areas and sandstone heath. It is dark brown with a lighter stomach and chest.

The Parma Wallaby is a solitary, nocturnal species that feeds in the evening on grasses and herbs. Also known as the White-throated Wallaby, it is a small animal with a white throat and chest and a pale stripe on its cheek.

Avoid:

Feeding wallabies. Human food such as bread can lead to gum diseases and other health problems.

Using garden chemicals in areas where wallabies may eat.

Installing barbed wire fences, which can injure them as they search for food and water.

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Quokka

The Quokka is a type of small wallaby. It has thick greyish brown fur with lighter brown under surfaces. It has a brown face, short rounded ears, black eyes and a black nose. Its feet, paws and short tail are brown. The males are bigger than the females. Quokkas sleep during the day in smal..

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