Northern Nail-tail Wallaby, Onychogalea unguifera

The northern nail-tail wallaby (Onychogalea unguifera) is a marsupial that is also known as the sandy nail-tail wallaby. It can be found in Western Australia, Queensland, Australia, and the Northern Territory. It prefers a habitat with clay and softer soils in open woodlands or tussocks, or in shrub lands with limited tree vegetation. It can also be found in coastal areas with little vegetation. The northern nail-tail wallaby is the largest species within its genus, and is light tan in color, a trait from which it gained its common name. It is nocturnal and feeds on many types of vegetation. This species holds two possible subspecies within its range, although these are disputed.

Although there are no known major threats to the northern nail-tail wallaby, it may be threatened by changes in small factors like increased herding. It is thought that predation by introduced species of foxes may have caused the decline of southern populations, and this may occur to northern populations if the foxes move farther north. Predation by introduced species has caused the significant decline of one similar wallaby species, and the extinction of another.

The northern nail-tail wallaby does occur in some protected areas, but most of these do not include preferred habitats. In the Northern Territory, none of these protected areas holds high numbers of these wallabies, and this is similar in Western Australia. The northern nail-tail wallaby appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Least Concern,” but more information about its population numbers may need to be gathered in the future.

Image Caption: A Northern Nail-tail Wallaby at Featherdale. Credit: Nrg800/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)