Red Necked Wallaby
The back of the red necked wallaby is grey with the shoulders being reddish. Their underside is white. A white stripe also runs along the top of the lip. The muzzle and paws are black. A pouch is present on the underside of females.
Albino variants are bred in captivity and are also sometimes present in wild populations.
Tail length varies between 623 and 876mm (2.0 and 2.9ft) long. On the top the tail is grey and the underside is white.
A male red necked wallaby is larger than a female. Their body measure up to 82cm (32in) from the head to the base of the tail. They can reach weights of up to 26kg (59lb)
The red necked wallaby is an herbivore. They feed upon grasses, herbs, fruit, roots, leaves and weeds.
In a dry spell, they can obtain some of their water needs from tree roots
Australia is the native home of the red necked wallaby. Here they can be found throughout Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania sticking to the areas nearest the coast.
A range of introduced populations also exist across the planet. Most of these are escaped animals from zoo populations or private collections. These include groups in Ireland, England, France and New Zealand.
They live in the scrub, woodlands and eucalypt forests and will seek shelter in the vegetated gullies. Because of land clearing their grazing areas have increased.
The two populations of red necked wallaby exhibit different breeding patterns. On the mainland, they breed year-round while in Tasmania breeding only takes place from January through till July.
A male courts the female by sniffing her pouch and rump. He will flick his tail and paws while she hits him with the paws. Once she is receptive they may engage in a small fight before mating.
A joey is born after a 30-day gestation period. On a rare occasion twins are born. It’s the size of a jellybean, blind and furless. They weigh under 1g (0.04oz) Following the birth, they make the climb up the stomach and in to the pouch. Here they attach to a teat where they will suckle while they grow.
The mother will come back in to oestrus as early as 2 days after mating. A red necked wallaby can complete embryonic diapause a process in which they delay the implantation of the egg so it does not begin to develop. In Tasmania they may hold this embryo for up to 8 months so the joey conceived in the last season is not born till the next.
A red necked wallaby will remain in its mother’s pouch till it is 280 days old. Once they are out of the pouch they may still place their head inside the pouch to suckle. They will remain with the mother out of the pouch for a further 4 to 5 months.
Females will reach sexual maturity at 14 months old while in males this occurs at 19 months old.
Most of the activity undertaken by the red necked wallaby occurs around dawn and dusk and through the night. During the day they rest in a covered area such as woodland or gullies.
They are a largely solitary animal only gathering together in a group, known as a mob, should resources be plentiful.
When moving, they hop. The tail helps to control balance when hopping. They can also swim using a technique likened to dog paddling.
The Tasmanian subspecies of the red necked wallaby is also known as Bennett’s wallaby.
Fur from the coats of the red necked wallaby are sometimes exported for use in clothing.
By Ltshears (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By 4028mdk09 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
McKenzie, N., Menkhorst, P. & Lunney, D. 2016. Macropus rufogriseus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T40566A21953329. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-2.RLTS.T40566A21953329.en. Downloaded on 23 May 2020.
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