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Brush-Tailed Rock Wallaby (Petrogale penicillata)



The Brush-Tailed Rock Wallaby


The brush-tailed rock wallaby is a marsupial common in Queensland and New South Wales. The population in Victoria is dangerously close to becoming extinct. The decline of this species is due to many things including inbreeding, lack of predator control and loss of habitat. It is difficult to reintroduce these animals to the wild due to the changes made to their preferred habitat. Brush-tailed rock wallabies are nocturnal animals but they appear to enjoy the sunshine when the weather is cool.

Brush-tailed rock wallabies enjoy dwelling in areas where there a plenty of rocks and caves. Although the main population of this marsupial is located on the continent of Australia, there are populations in Hawaii that have been introduced there in a conservation effort. Brush-tailed rock wallabies are very sensitive about their environment and do not like to be disturbed by humans, in the wild they are not friendly. Colonies are present, within each colony there is a dominant presence at the top of the hierarchy.

The average head and body length of this animal is 550mm with an average tail measurement of 600mm. Compared to the body sizes of other wallabies, the brush-tailed wallaby is in the middle. The back legs and tail are all brown, the underbelly fades into a lighter brown or white. The legs, paws, and feet are almost black. The cheeks are adorned with a cream stripe that runs from snout to ear on both sides. Thick fur covers the brush-tailed rock wallaby, there is also a “brush” at the end of its tail.

Feeding generally occurs during the night and early morning hours. Brush-tailed rock wallabies enjoy eating various native grasses in addition to roots and bark.

Females reach maturity at 18 months and males reach maturity at 20 months. Breeding occurs year-round. Gestation lasts 31 days and the young will be in the pouch about 29 weeks. When the joey leaves the pouch it will continue to suckle for another three months. Although breeding is possible immediately after the female gives birth, the embryo will only start development when the previous joey has left the pouch.

The brush-tailed wallaby can climb tell trees with its sharp claws and strong legs, it can also easily climb rocks.

 

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Bibliography

Fact Sheet No. 22 Brush-Tailed Rock Wallaby (Petrogale penicillata) An Endangered Species, Environment Act, 8/5/04, www.environment.act.gov.au/files/tsfactsheet22word.doc.

Brush-Tailed Rock Wallaby, Lamington National Park, 8/5/04, http://lamington.nrsm.uq.edu.au/Documents/Anim/brush-tailed_rock_wallaby.htm.

Faunal Emblem Brush-Tailed Rock Wallaby (Petrogale penicillata), 8/5/04, www.ipswich.qld.gov.au/environment/conservation/wildlife_of_ipswich/faunal_emblem.php.

A Field guide to the Mammals of Australia, Menkhorst, P and Knight, F. © 2001.

 

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