Agile Wallaby

Wild Australia

Location in Zoo

Wild Australia
Size
Male
Female

12-14 months
12-14 months

Geographic Range

Australian (native)

Scientific Information

Scientific Name:
Macropus agilis
Class:
Mammalia
Order:
Diprotodontia
Family:
Macropodidae
Genus:
Macropus

Lifestyle and Lifespan

Diet:
herbivore
Activity Time Frame:
Nocturnal
Interactivity:
Sexual Dimorphism:
Size- Males larger than females
Gestation:
30 days
Lifespan in the Wild:
11-14 years
Lifespan in Captivity:
10 years

Conservation

Status:
Least Concerned
Threats:
Habitat modification, over-hunting, and extended periods of drought.

Characteristics

The term wallaby refers to medium or small members of the macropod family, which includes kangaroos and wallabies. There are more than 30 species of wallaby that are divided based on their habitat. Other species include brush wallabies, rock wallabies, forest wallabies, nail-tailed wallabies, and hare wallabies.

Species Specifics

Agile wallabies are sandy brown marsupials with white stripes on their cheeks and near their hips. They will stand on their powerful back legs when surveying their surroundings, but often stay on all-fours when grazing. Like many animals that get around by hopping, agile wallabies have long back legs, shorter arms, and a powerful tail. Agile wallabies are one of the largest species of wallaby, with the males being much larger than the females (sometimes up to twice the size!).

Physical Characteristics

Agile wallabies are capable of embryonic diapause. This is where the female is capable of storing a zygote for months without implanting it in the wall of the uterus. A female will mate after a joey moves to her pouch, but not begin developing the second joey until the first leaves the pouch. This reproductive strategy allows wallabies to quickly produce more offspring.

Ecology

Habitat

These versatile marsupials can live in a variety of habitats including forests, savannah grasslands, floodplains, and regions near rivers and streams.

Distribution

Their home ranges are not exclusive, and they will overlap with other wallabies. They are found in Northern Australia, Papua New Guinea, and the Indonesian province of Papua.

Diet

Agile wallabies are herbivores who prefer grasses, but adjust their diet based on seasonal fluctuations. In the wet season when grasses are plentiful, agile wallabies are grazers, and favor grasses and legumes. During the dry season, agile wallabies eat available grass, but expand their diet to include browse, lead litter, fruits, flowers, and roots.

Ecological Web

They play and important role in the ecosystem by dispersing the seeds of the plants that they eat (via their feces!)

Activity and Behavior

Activity Pattern

Agile wallabies are mainly nocturnal, but sometimes will feed during the day.

Behavior

Social Behavior

Agile wallabies are solitary, but will sometimes forage and travel in groups of up to 10 individuals. When in larger groups, they will spend more time feeding and less time on the lookout for predators. This is an indication that they feel safer when around others. When wallabies organize into these groups, they are called "mobs"!

Reproductive Behavior

Agile wallabies can breed year round, but the survival rate of their offspring may vary with the seasons. With a gestation period of about a month, the females will give birth to a baby about the size of a lima bean. Once born, their offspring (which are called joeys) will climb into the pouch to continue growing. The joeys will continue to grow and nurse for the next 6-8 months before venturing out on their own. Females are receptive to mating shortly after giving birth, and are capable of delayed implantation (where they will become pregnant again once their current joey leaves the pouch).

Offspring

Average of 1 offspring per breeding season.

Conservation

Status

Agile wallabies are listed as "Least Concern" by the IUCN. However, in parts of New Guinea, wallabies are threatened by over-hunting. In Australia, they are sometimes considered a pest species and can be either shot or poisoned- fortunately, this occurs in minimal amounts and does not pose a significant threat to the species overall.

Historical

Agile Wallaby fossils have been found that date back as far back as 4 million years. Ancient wallabies were slightly larger, but otherwise very similar in shape to today’s wallabies. In Australia, these wallabies have been seen as a pest species and, historically, poisoning and hunting campaigns were launched to reduce their population.

Current Threats

The wallabies are threatened by over-hunting in parts of New Guinea

Our Role

Our wallabies were unfortunately victims of the illegal wildlife trade. They were illegally owned by a private citizen who (fortunately) surrendered them to avoid increased legal action. The Oakland Zoo is proud to be taking action against the illegal wildlife trade and provide these animals with their forever home, where they will receive the highest quality care.

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Fascinating Facts

Agile wallabies are also called sandy wallabies

References