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Swamp Wallaby

World of Wallabies (Marsupials)

This WORLD is represented by the Swamp Wallaby.  Wallabies are a smaller version of the kangaroo.  ‘Swampies’ have a distinctive bicolor coat and live in groups called mobs.

Common Name:        Swamp Wallaby

Genus/Species:         Wallabia bicolor

Range:

Found on the eastern coast of Australia from southeastern South Australia, Victoria, eastern Queensland and eastern New South Wales.

Natural Habitat:

Generally live in dense forests, thickets, mangroves, woodlands and swampy areas.  Hide in thick grass and dense brush during the day and come out at dusk to forage for food.

Physical Appearance:

Physical appearance may slightly vary depending on geographic area. Long, thick, coarse fur. Dark brown in color with lighter fur on chest and belly. Tail and limbs are darker in color.  Cheeks have yellow stripes on them. Forelimbs are smaller than hind limbs.  Uses a fourth premolar tooth to cut up coarse plant material.  They are sexually dimorphic in size.  The males can weigh 26-45 lbs. and 84.7 cm long.  The females can weigh 22-34 lbs. and 66.5 cm long. The wallably uses its forelimbs to manipulate food and its hind limbs for rapid bipedal locomotion.

Reproduction:

Both sexes reach sexual maturity at 15 – 18 months of age.  Females are polyestrous (able to breed year round).  Generally give birth to one joey per cycle but twins are possible.  The young joey weighs less than 1 gram when born and will make its way to the mammary glands located in the pouch of the female.  The joey will spend 8-9 months in the pouch but will be completely out of the pouch at 9 months of age and eating solid food.  Gestation period is 33-38 days and the estrous cycle is 29-34 days long.  This is the only marsupial with a gestation period longer than its estrous.  Females can mate last few days of pregnancy, which allows continuous breeding and birthing approximately every 8 months. Suckling of new born temporarily halts during development of second embryo, called embryonic diapause.  Second embryo will resume development once first joey is ready to leave the pouch.

STATUS in Natural Habitat:

Common but are decreasing in number due to habitat destruction and being hunted by farmers for destroying crops.

Cool Fact:

Due to its unique dentition, dimorphic chromosome number and reproductive behavior, the swamp wallaby is the only living member of the genus Wallabia.  They have been known to hybridize with the agile wallaby, which makes there genus classification Wallabia controversial. 

 

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