The Tasmanian Pademelon (Thylogale billardierii), also known as the Rufous-bellied Pademelon or Red-bellied Pademelon, is the sole endemic species of pademelon found in Tasmania. Due to Tasmania’s cooler climate, this pademelon has developed a more full and bushy fur than its northern relatives, who inhabit mainland Australia and Papua New Guinea.
Pademelons are solitary and nocturnal, spending the daylight hours in thick vegetation. Rainforest, sclerophyll forest, and scrubland are preferred, although wet gullies in dry open eucalypt forest are also used. Such places, next to open areas where feeding can occur, are especially favored. After dusk, the animals move onto open areas to feed, but rarely stray more than 400 feet from the forest edge. The species is abundant and widespread throughout Tasmania.
Males reach around 26.5 pounds in weight, and are considerably larger than the females, who average 8.6 pounds. The Tasmanian Pademelon is a nocturnal herbivore feeding on a wide variety of plants, from herbs, green shoots and grass, to some nectar-bearing flowers.
There is no specific breeding season, though 70% of pademelon births seem to occur around the beginning of winter. Gestation for the female is 30 days. The young are in the pouch for about 6 months thereafter, and are weaned at around 8 months. Joeys are sexually mature at 14 – 15 months. Pademelons live between 5 to 6 years in the wild.
Once a part of the diet of the Thylacine, the Tasmanian Pademelon is still preyed upon by other predators of the island, including the Tasmanian Devil, pythons and quolls. Even so, they are abundant to the point of being culled occasionally (along with other wallabies) to reduce competition for grass with the farmed animals. Hunting of the Tasmanian Pademelon is allowed, its pelt having some economic value and its meat being palatable.