Whiptail Wallaby, Macropus parryi

The whiptail wallaby or pretty-faced wallaby (Macropus parryi) is a member of the Macropodidae family that can be found in eastern areas of Australia. Its range extends from Cooktown, Queensland to Grafton, New South Wales. This species is light in color, with grey to brown fur occurring on most of its body. The chest is typically black or white in color, and the face holds black stripes underlined by white stripes. This species receives its common name, the pretty-faced wallaby, from these unique features. Males reach an average height of up to three feet and a weight between thirty and fifty seven pounds, Females are smaller, reaching a height of up to two and half feet and a weight between fifteen and thirty-three pounds.

The whiptail wallaby is typically active during the day, with peak activity occurring in the morning and late afternoon hours. It is thought that this species can also be active during the night. It is social, gathering in groups of up to fifty individuals known as mobs. Each group can live in a home range that consists of about 271 acres. These ranges can overlap, and one wallaby will typically guard the rest of the group in overlapping areas. Each group contains a range of individuals of many ages and both sexes. Mobs typically contain smaller groups of up to ten individuals, and it is rare to see all fifty wallabies together at the same time. Mobs hold a hierarchy structure that is used to denote breeding rights. Clashes between individuals typically consist of non-violent pawing, coughing, and grass pulling.

Males will move through a group of females, tasting their urine to see if they are ready to mate. Females can breed for up to forty-two days, but only the dominant males are allowed to mate with them. Once a mate is found, the pair will remain together unless another male that is more dominant happens upon the female. As is typical to marsupials, mothers will give birth to a joey within their pouch. This joey will remain in the pouch for up to nine months, after which it will not be weaned until eighteen months of age. Young adult males have been known to leave their birth groups, but most individuals remain once they have matured.

The diet of the whiptail wallaby consists mainly of graze like kangaroo grasses and monocots, which can be found in creeks. It occurs in many protected areas and does not have any major threats, although it is thought that habitat loss could harm its population numbers in the future. The whiptail wallaby appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Least Concern.”

Image Caption: Wild Whiptail Wallaby/Pretty-Faced Wallaby (Macropus parryi) at the road from Canungra to Lamington National Park, Queensland, Australia. Credit: Quartl/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)