Kangaroos and wallabies belong to a group of animals called macropods (that’s Latin for “big foot”). Large macropods are called kangaroos. Medium-sized macropods are called wallaroos. Smaller macropods are called wallabies.
|Scientific name||Macropus rufogriseus|
|Length||16 to 39 inches (40 to 100 centimeters)|
|Tail length||up to 30 inches (76 centimeters)|
|Weight||26 to 44 pounds (12 to 20 kilograms)|
|Life span||20 years|
|Gestation||about 40 days, with about 235 days in the pouch|
|Number of young at birth||1 at a time|
|Age of maturity||11 to 12 months|
The Wallaby’s home
Bennett’s wallabies are found in eastern Australia and Tasmania. They feed in grasslands and use dense vegetation for cover. This wallaby is able to live in different types of habitats and it can even live in areas that receive snow. At the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, you can see Bennett’s wallabies in the Central Zoo.
What’s on the menu?
Wallabies mainly eat grasses and shoots in the wild. At the Zoo, the wallabies eat chow biscuits which mimic the nutrition of grasses. The wallabies also eat rabbit pellets, grain, carrots, and apples at the zoo.
A Roo relative
Bennett’s wallabies have a brown-grey body with a red nape and red shoulders. Large, muscular hindquarters make them excellent jumpers, just like their larger kangaroo relatives. A tapered tail acts as a balance while the wallabies are leaping, and it’s a third leg to help provide stability when sitting. Their hair is coarse and thick. The female has a well-developed forward-facing pouch. Wallabies’ large, flat teeth help them grind grasses and plants as they eat.
A unique mating cycle
Unlike most mammals, wallabies and kangaroos have a unique reproductive feature called embryonic diapause. The female mates shortly after giving birth and the resulting embryo becomes dormant until the firstborn leaves the pouch, or dies. Subsequently, the second embryo resumes development and birth occurs about 29 days later.
Let’s call him joey
Wallabies usually live alone, except for females and their offspring. Females have a pouch where the baby, called a joey, lives for its first six to eight weeks of life. Well-developed forelimbs and digits enable the young wallaby to scramble, unaided by its mother, up into the pouch, where it attaches itself to a nipple. The joey permanently vacates the pouch about 235 days later and is weaned in about a year.
No effort is too small!