KANGAROOS

Red-necked Wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus)

kkangaroos

Habitat:

They are classified as medium-large marsupials. They mainly live in more fertile parts of Eastern Australia – mainly Queensland and Tasmania. You will most often find them in eucalyptus forests with a moderately bushy vegetation. They also like to live near open spaces.

Description and characteristics:

They can be recognised by their black snout, black paws and white stripe on the upper lip. Their pelt or fur is grey with shades of red in the area of the shoulder. The adults weigh 13-18 kg and can grow 90 cm tall. Their tail is grey and white at the bottom. It can be 70 cm long. Males are usually somewhat smaller. In the wild, they mostly live a life of a recluse. If there is an abundance of food, they group – even up to 30 individuals. They mostly feed at dawn and rest during the day - hidden in the vegetation. They eat dry grass, fruit, different grains, and roots. For dessert, they sometimes have tree branches and bush branches. There are three subspecies of kangaroos.

Breeding:

Females reach sexual maturity after 14 months of age, males after 19. It is interesting that males, before mating, lick the females neck and are trying to suck up to her. Estrus lasts for 32 days, gestation lasts for 30 days. Males have some kind of fights after mating - they are boxing. Before mating, the male and the female are pointed face-to-face. After mating, which lasts for a day or two, they split. The foetus stays in the womb only for a short period of time. At birth, only the offspring´s mouth and front limbs are fully developed. The offspring travel from the female’s genitalia straight into the pouch – weighing only 5 milligrams. This is only 1% of the mother’s weight. For the first 100 days, the offspring are completely attached to one of the nipples, via which they get the milk. During this period, they reach the weight of 100 grams and developed their eyes. After 180 days they start looking out of the pouch. They start eating grass but do not leave the pouch. They leave the pouch after 190 days. That is when the mother mates again and because the older baby doesn´t need so much milk anymore, it gives place to the younger one. Now the mother mates again; however, the third embryo is quiescence until the second one comes off the nipple. After a month they develop their tails and back legs – they are still attached to the nipple. Every offspring has its own nipple. The milk from each nipple is different. The older ones get milk with more fat than the milk received by the youngest one. Only rarely do they have more than one offspring. Males live in the vicinities of their mothers – even their entire life. The young males have to become independent after 2 years. The younglings can still feed on milk up to the age of 17 months. They live in their mother´s pouch for 280 days. It interesting that the males can postpone the birth – even up to 8 months.

Interesting:

There are 47 known types of kangaroos. The Wallaby is one of them. There are 20 types of wallabies. In 1975, in Scotland, on the island of Loch Lomong, they released 2 couples of red-neck wallabies into the wild. In 1993 their numbers rose to 26. In some areas of South East England; Kent, Surrey, Brighton, Hove, they have been released into the wild in 1900. They thought they were extinct, but we can hear and see them even today. In France, in the Southern part of the Rambouillet forest, around 50 km west of Paris, lives a group of 30 wallabies. When the storm broke some trees and damaged the local zoo, wallabies escaped. In 1870 some specimens were released in New Zealand where there are currently in great numbers.


Dusan Kreslin
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