Wentz is a cross of two species of wallaby, the Tammar (Macropus eugenii) and the Bennett’s (Macropus rufogriseus). Wentz was brought to us because she has a kink in her lower intestine, caused by falling out of her mother’s pouch. Instead of surgery, a strategic approach to her diet has facilitated the widening of the intestine. We continue to monitor her digestive health on a daily basis. Wentz was named after the Wentz family in Oroville who helped finance her arrival and the building of her enclosure. Wentz has been a resident of Kirshner Wildlife Sanctuary since August 2002, and lives with her enclosure companions Toby and Cliff (black-tailed deer). This companionship fulfills all species’ instinctual need to be part of a social structure, either that of a herd (a group of deer) or of a mob (a group of wallabies) and keeps all three species at ease.

Wallabies are classified as marsupials because the young are carried in a pouch and are essentially a smaller version of kangaroos. An adult female wallaby is known as a flyer while an adult male is known as a boomer, and young are known as joeys. 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.

The Tammar wallaby is native to the Southern and Western Australian coast with some natural subpopulations remaining on the mainland in reserves and parks. 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 lowest 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 marsupials with weights ranging from 30-41 lbs. The Bennett’s wallaby is considered lowest 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 reproduction 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 1 gram and it 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 marsupium the development of the new embryo is put on hold in the uterus. After about eight to nine months, the joey emerges from the marsupium 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. At such time, the mother can essentially have three offspring at three different stages of development: a joey on foot, a joey in the marsupium, and an embryo in the uterus.

Wallaby Trivia: Female wallabies can produce two different types of milk at the same time, one for her baby and another, richer blend, for her older offspring.

Wallabies and other members of this marsupial family are usually 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. Some species of wallabies are either crepuscular, where they are most active at dusk and dawn, or nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night.

Wallaby Fast Facts

Type of Animal Mammal
Diet in Wild Grasses
Diet at Kirshner Wildlife Sanctuary Grasses, fruits, grape leaves
Body Length 2 ¼-2 ½ ft with 20-28 in tail
Body Height 1 ½ ft
Body Weight Boomers 40 lbs; Fliers 25 lbs
Gestation Period 29 days, 235 days in the pouch
Number of Offspring 1 joey
Lifespan In Wild 15 yrs; In Captivity 40 yrs
Range Australia, Tasmania, surrounding islands
Habitat Eucalyptus forests & coastal areas
Protection Status Least Concern