Rock wallaby: characteristics and risks

In beautiful Australia, a country that hosts an unimaginable variety of animals, we find a marsupial that is not a kangaroo, does not have the size to be considered as such, but that closely resembles us and that is worth being told. Is called wallaby and belongs to the family Macropodidae, there are species and we will focus on rock wallaby, truly extraordinary animal and not so easy to meet, even going to visit him in his homeland.

Australian wallabies

This category of animals is native to central and southern Oceania and, as mentioned above, is not characterized by enormous dimensions, on the contrary. The maximum length reached is one meter and a little more, while the weight can vary from one kilogram to 42. Even the same name "wallaby", deriving from Aboriginal Dharuk language, strain of the Kuringgai, according to many it should indicate the modest size of this animal, compared to that of the kangaroo.

Wallabies eat especially fibers and they are in most cases herbivores even if some species turn out to be omnivorous. The structure of the body is not completely harmonious, it is seen that the upper half of the body is not very developed compared to the lower part. They have four paws but they jump on the two rear ones, the more robust and equipped with four fingers, two with nails and two inserted in a common sheath. Smaller are the front ones that count instead five fingers all equipped with nails. The rather thick and long thing cannot be missing, which plays an essential role in maintaining balance despite the fact that the head is very small, with very large mobile ears.

Wallaby of the rocks: characteristics

This kind of wallaby bears the name of Petrogale Gray but very often the specimens of the 16 species that are part of it are defined as rock wallabies. They are medium-sized animals, which can measure about 60 centimeters, plus the tail which reaches even 7 'centimeters, if male, to a little less if female. They have a rather colorful coat, they are living animals especially at night and they frequent areas where there are many rocks or rough and steep terrain where they can take refuge during the day. During the night, they come out of their hiding places, whether they are caves or dens carved out of the stones, and wander around the surrounding areas in search of food, especially at dawn and dusk.

Wallaby of the rocks: where they live

THE rock wallaby they group in small colonies, usually made up of a few dozen specimens, and occupy a certain portion of the territory where they have identified the possibility of finding suitable shelters, which is essential for their lifestyle. Since it is not always easy to find suitable land, it happens that some groups share the same hectares, even if they are animals highly territorial.

The types of habitats in which i rock wallaby can live by managing to get food are three. It can establish itself in areas with groups of large scattered boulders that form a sort of labyrinth of fissures and tunnels, with underground corridors and open spaces, it can instead choose cliffs where there are several medium-level cornices and caves, or even isolated rock masses , with steep slopes and often surrounded by falling boulders.

There is not a lot of choice, from this point of view, and when a colony of rock wallaby it settles in a place it remains there, without mixing much with other groups, which is why the various colonies, even if not far from each other, have genetically differentiated from each other.

Wallaby of the rocks: risks

Unfortunately these animals are very related to own habitat which must have certain characteristics and as the areas suitable for hosting them have reduced considerably, the risk of survival for our rock wallabies has emerged. It is not a recent thing, since the arrival of the first ones European colonizers the situation began to worsen, but certainly the decline accelerated and many colonies disappeared all the time. Another threat is constituted by other animals with which the wallabies share the land, foxes, for example, but also goats, sheep and rabbits that can steal their food. And then there are also diseases, such as toxoplasmosis and hydatidosis, and a physiological lowering of genetic variability due to the isolation of the colonies.

Fortunately, we did not stand by and tried to limit the disappearance of this animal from Oceania. The most important and still urgent actions are those that aim at the conservation of the habitat and the management of harmful species, such as foxes and goats. Numerous programs have been launched nationwide, thanks to the support of Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife, to raise awareness but also to protect the land where the wallabies live, and then there are the monitoring initiatives of the many colony, to evaluate the population, both in numbers and in genetic heritage.

To show our closeness to these animals we can make a donation to the aforementioned Foundation and buy a mug that represents him. Difficult to find it in our part, where the wallabyis not very well known, but on Amazon it is easily possible.

Video: Wallaby Fight on the beach of Cape Hillsborough (January 2022).