Walli – Wallaby

Walli, a cross between the Tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii) and the Bennett’s wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus), was born in early April 2016. Walli has come to the Foundation to be a companion to our older wallaby, Wentz.

Wallabies are classified as marsupials because their young are carried in a pouch. They have coats ranging from gray to brown with black paws and muzzles. Wallabies have long, stout tails that are mostly used for balance and support as well as powerful hind limbs which are used for bounding at high speeds, jumping great heights, and administering vigorous kicks to fend off predators. Wallabies are very social creatures, living in organized groups called mobs. These mobs have a hierarchical dominance structure where males are usually higher-ranking members. Mobs are comprised of all ages and sexes and usually have up to 50 members.

The Tammar wallaby is native to the southern and western Australian coast. As a nocturnal species, it spends nights in grassland habitats and days in low dense vegetation. Tammar wallabies are one of the smallest wallaby species with weights ranging from 6 – 14 lbs. The disappearance of this species in the wild is due to the combination of land clearing, predation by introduced predators (especially cats and foxes), and hunting by early settlers. Today the population trend is unknown, but it is considered at low risk of extinction because of its abundance and presumably stable population.

The Bennett’s wallaby, also called a red-necked wallaby, is found throughout Tasmania and the Bass Strait islands. Bennett’s wallabies are mainly nocturnal and spend most of the day resting sheltered by brush. Bennett’s wallabies are medium-sized weighing from 30 – 41 lbs. The Bennett’s wallaby is considered at low risk of extinction because the only major threats to the species are for crop protection and commercial harvesting for meat.

Wallabies and other marsupials have very unique reproductive systems that differ significantly from other mammals. The females reach sexual maturity at nine months of age and males at two years. Females have a very short gestation period only lasting about 25 – 28 days. At birth, a marsupial baby weighs less than one gram and is essentially still an embryo. The newborn continues developing in the mother’s abdominal pouch, known as the marsupium, where it attaches to a teat and feeds on low-protein, high-fat milk. The mother can immediately become pregnant again but due to the presence of the suckling young in the pouch the development of the new embryo is put on hold in the uterus. After about eight to nine months, the joey emerges from the pouch and parental care is provided for ten to eleven months. When the joey leaves the pouch, the new embryo resumes development and is born in under a month. Shortly after birth, the mother again can become pregnant and the cycle repeats. The mother can essentially have three offspring at three different stages of development: a joey on foot, a joey in the pouch, and an embryo in the uterus.

Wallaby Trivia: Wallabies will make foot thumps like a drummer to warn others of potential threats.

Wallaby Quick Facts:

Body Size 16 – 20 inches long, 16 – 21 inches tall, with a 16 – 21 inch long tail
Weight Males up to 40 lbs, Females 9 – 20 lbs
Gestation Period 25 – 28 days
Number of Offspring 1 joey
Lifespan 15 – 18 years