Status Least Concern
Size Head and body: 92-105cm. Tail: 70-75cm. Males tend to be bigger than females
Gestation 1 month and then inside the pouch for a further 9-9 ½ months
Life span Around 15-18 years
Red-necked wallabies will eat mostly grasses and herbs, but will also feed on roots of plants to gain the moisture they need in the hot summer months.
These animals are more active during the early morning and late afternoon (crepuscular), and will often go in search of food during this time. During the day they are often found alone (solitary) and they will find a shady spot within vegetation to rest.
Red-necked wallabies can be found in south-eastern Australia and also on the island of Tasmania, which is 150 miles south of mainland Australia.
They can be found living in eucalyptus forests with some open grassy and scrub areas where they are able to find food and also shade to rest in.
Red-necked wallabies are able to breed from 1-1½ years old, and the way they raise their young is rather different to most mammals. Wallabies are marsupials and they have a pouch which they use to raise their offspring, but baby wallabies are not born in the pouch!
The gestation period of the red-necked wallaby is around 1 month, and at birth a wallaby is about the same size as a baked bean and weigh less than 1g! They then have to crawl up and in to the pouch and attach themselves to a teat inside where they will suckle from their mother’s milk.
Baby wallabies (known as joeys) will start to look out of their mother’s pouch from 6 months old. They start to come out and explore from 7 months but will keep returning to the safety of their mother’s pouch until 9 months old when they become too big to fit inside! The young will still feed from their mother until they are around 12-17 months old.
Soon after mating, wallabies are able to delay their fertilised egg from developing further in to an embryo; this is called “embryonic diapause”. If a wallaby is already feeding a joey in the pouch, then the egg will not develop further as she can only have one joey in the pouch at one time. When the joey leaves the pouch and is not feeding from her as often, this can then trigger the fertilised egg to continue to develop in to an embryo and eventually a new joey.
It is even known for these animals to have a joey out of the pouch still feeding occasionally from their mother, a joey within the pouch feeding all the time and a fertilised egg inside the mother’s uterus. Red-necked wallabies are even able to delay the further development of their fertilised egg until the seasons are warmer, so that when the joey emerges from the pouch there will be more food to eat.
Red-necked wallabies are mostly hunted by dingoes, and wedge-tailed eagles can also be a threat to joeys.
These animals have faced problems with being hunted for their meat, fur and also persecution from farmers. This is due to red-necked wallabies being considered as a pest, because they can eat seedlings of crops and are also seen as competition for grazing areas with livestock animals.
There are currently no conservation projects in place for the red-necked wallaby, as they are found in many areas across their range.
Wallabies belong to the same family as kangaroos called ‘Macropodidae’, which in Latin loosely translates to ‘big foot’, referring to their big hind feet.
Wallabies do not just hop to move around, they can also crawl around slowly using both their fore and hind limbs.
Even though red-necked wallabies spend most of their time alone, they can been seen in groups called ‘mobs’ of up to 30 wallabies! They can be seen in these numbers especially when they are looking for food.
We wanted an outdoor activity that was not entirely weather independent for a large family group over the Christmas holidays, incorporating children, teenagers, adults and two people with disabilities (age range 10 to 85). Marwell ticked all the boxes!The Keefe Family, 7th January 2016