The sweet face of a Red-necked Wallaby joey recently emerged from its mother’s pouch at Belgrade Zoo.
The zoo currently does not have a name for the joey. Once the youngster begins to spend time outside of mom’s pouch, keepers will be able to determine the sex and find a proper name. They estimate the joey is about five to six months of age.
The Red-necked Wallaby, or ‘Bennett’s Wallaby, (Macropus rufogriseus) is a medium-sized macropod marsupial, common in the more temperate and fertile parts of eastern Australia, including Tasmania.
Red-necked Wallabies are distinguished by their black nose and paws, white stripe on the upper lip, and grizzled medium grey coat with a reddish wash across the shoulders. They can weigh 13.8 to 18.6 kilograms (30 to 41 lb) and attain a head-body length of 90 cm (35 in), although males are generally bigger than females. Red-necked Wallabies may live up to 9 years.
After mating, a couple will stay together for one day before separating. A female bears one offspring at a time, and the young stay in the pouch for about 280 days, after which, females and their offspring stay together for only a month.
Females may, however, stay in the home range of their mothers for life while males leave at the age of two. Red-necked Wallabies also engage in alloparental care, in which one individual may adopt the child of another. This is a common behavior seen in many other animal species like wolves, elephants, and fathead minnows.
Red-necked Wallabies are mainly nocturnal, and they spend most of the day resting. Their diets consist of grasses, roots, tree leaves, and weeds.
The Red-necked Wallaby is currently classified as “Least Concern” by the IUCN. In Tasmania and coastal Queensland, their numbers have expanded over the past 30 years because of a reduction in hunting pressure and the partial clearing of forest to result in pastures where Wallabies can feed at night, alongside bush land where they can shelter by day.
In general, a Wallaby is a small to mid-sized macropod native to Australia and New Guinea. They belong to the same family as kangaroos and sometimes the same genus, but kangaroos are specifically categorized into the six largest species of the family.
There are 11 species of Brush Wallabies. Their head and body length is 45 to 105 cm and the tail is 33 to 75 cm long. The six named species of Rock Wallabies live among rocks, usually near water; two species are endangered.
The two species of Hare Wallabies are small animals that have the movements and some of the habits of hares.
Often called “pademelons”, the three species of Scrub Wallabies of New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, and Tasmania are small and stocky, with short hind limbs and pointed noses. They are hunted for meat and fur. A similar species is the Short-tailed Scrub Wallaby, or quokka (Setonix brachyurus); this species is now restricted to two offshore islands of Western Australia.
The three named species of Forest Wallabies are native to the island of New Guinea. The Dwarf Wallaby is the smallest member of the genus and the smallest known member of the kangaroo family. Its length is about 46 cm from nose to tail, and it weighs about 1.6 kg.
Wallabies are herbivores and their diet consists of a wide range of grasses, vegetables, leaves and other foliage. Due to urbanization, many Wallabies now feed in rural and urban areas. They can cover vast distances for food and water, which is often scarce in their environment. Mobs of Wallabies often congregate around the same water hole during the dry season.
Wallabies face several threats, including: wild dogs, foxes, and feral cats. Humans also pose a significant threat to Wallabies due to increased interaction (although Wallabies can defend themselves with hard kicks, and biting). Many Wallabies have also been involved in vehicular accidents, as they often feed near roads in urban areas.