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Animal Data > Bennett's Wallaby

(Macropus rufogriseus rupogriseus)

Status Distribution Sexually Mature
Not Threatened Tasmania; small groups in parts of UK and elsewhere, descended from zoo and park escapees 1 year
Number of Young Gestation Life Span
1 30 days 12 years

The Bennett's wallaby is the Tasmainian subspecies of the Red-necked Wallaby of southern and eastern Australia. It is found in woodlands at altitudes of up to 1250m, at the forest edge and in costal scrubland. Its diet consists of grasses and leaves which are plucked with the large, powerful incisor teeth and mashed up using hard, grinding molars.

As with all kangaroos, the back legs are very well muscled and the strong tail is used for balance when leaping, or as a prop when sitting. The wallaby's normal colouration provides excellent camouflage amongst woodland undergrowth, and it's relatively dense fur gives it the added insulation needed to survive in the cool Tasmainian climate. These same features have enabled escaped wallabies to survive and breed in parts of Britain.

Bennett's wallabies are usually solitary animals, staying together only for the duration of mating. Gestation (the period when a baby is developing inside its mother's womb) is usually 30 days, but when environmental conditions are unfavourable, or if the female already has a baby in her pouch, this can be delayed – the development of the embryo is halted until the conditions improve. When the baby is born, usually during the rainy season, it closely resembles a baked bean in size and shape! This tiny, barely formed creature, unable to see or hear, hauls itself up its mother's belly, hanging on by its front legs (its back legs are less developed) and makes its way into the pouch. Once inside, it attaches to one of the four teats and remains there for nealy 7 months, venturing out occasionally as it gets bigger. Even after leaving the pouch for the last time, the young wallaby may continue to suckle.

Bennett's Wallabies, with their taste for eucalyptus trees and other crops, have long been regarded as pests. Their meat has been used for human and pet food and their skins for leather and fur. Now hunting is regulated and wallaby numbers are high.

Main Features

Medium - sized kangaroo with dark grey-brown body and a silvery tail. Albinos (white with pink eyes) also occur. Short forelimbs, large hindlimbs. Females have a front pouch and are smaller than males.

In Captivity

Marwell's wallabies have bred extremely well.

They have a large wooded area in which to roam, graze and browse and are also fed cereal, fruit and vegetables.

©2009 Marwell Wildlife