Clever roos

The kangaroo is perhaps the most iconic Australian animal. It features on our national airline, our coat of arms, and countless advertisements. But there are many species of macropods in Australia – three species of full sized kangaroos, many smaller wallabies, and the even smaller pademelons. There are even arboreal-dwelling tree kangaroos in Far Northern Queensland.

Bringing this blog up to date, I have sighted five macropod species in the wild since starting mammalwatching in August 2019. The easiest was the very common Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) which was led to come down and graze in my yard during very dry conditions in winter and spring 2019. This large male was only about 5 metres from my front door.

The swamp or black wallaby (Wallabia bicolor) is a size smaller than the kangaroo, maybe half their height, and one of the few Australian mammals to be active during the day. I have seen several at different places in my local area. The first was an older individual near Mt. Duval west of Armidale, NSW, who was willing to sit and eat lunch near me providing I stayed quiet.

This red-necked pademelon (Thylogale thetis) is smaller again. This particular little mum is a regular visitor to the Dorrigo National Park picnic site, appearing just at closing time to graze the short-cropped grass. And what a bonus to see her joey!

Mum and joey red-necked pademelons

The brush-tailed rock wallaby (Petrogale pencillata) is a little harder to see as they keep to rougher country which they negotiate sure-footededly. There are a number of rock wallabies species and sub-species around Australia, this one being my ‘local’. I saw these at Perserverence Dam, near Toowoomba in southern Queensland; but they also occur closer to my home in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park.

This would make a great jigsaw puzzle.

The last macropod for today is the red-necked wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus). While the photography is not the best (taken from my car window), I am pretty confident on the identification more from a process of elimination of other likely species. I saw this one in the late afternoon on the road to Cathedral Rock National Park in November 2020.

Mammal watching total = 7.

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