Kangaroos are marsupials and belong to the Family Macropodidae (i.e. big feet) that is grouped with the Potoroidae (potoroos, bettongs, rat-kangaroos) and Hypsiprymnodontidae (musky rat-kangaroo) in the Super-Family, Macropodoidea. This comprises around 50 species in
The genus Macropus includes not only the large kangaroos but a range of mid-sized macropods known collectively at wallabies or brush wallabies. The exception is the Swamp Wallaby which is in its own genus Wallabia by virtue of its different chromosome number and other features. With the advent of agriculture and pastoralism the wallabies have fared less well than the kangaroos with most species in reduced ranges since European settlement. One species, the Toolache Wallaby (Macropus greyi) is extinct. In this pattern of range contraction, the Swamp Wallaby, is again an exception as it remains reasonably abundant in many peri-urban parks and reserves.
The Wallabies like the larger Kangaroos are predominantly grazers but may take some browse, especially the Swamp Wallaby. They share a similar body form and habits to the larger Kangaroos and are sympatric with Grey Kangaroos or the Antilopine Wallaroo in the north.
Kwoora (Western Brush) Wallaby
Dryandra Woodland, Western Australia
Dryandra Woodland is 164 km southeast of Perth and is a haven for threatened mammal species through circumstance and design via the Barna Mia animal sanctuary. Here you can find free-ranging Western Brush Wallabies along with Woylies (Brush-tailed Bettongs), Western Grey Kangaroos and Tammar Wallabies. The Sanctuary includes Banded Hare-wallabies, Rufous Hare-wallabies and Boodies (Burrowing Bettongs) for breeding and release in extensive re-introduction programs in Western Australia. The Woodland is best known for another marsupial, the Numbat.
Accommodation is available in cabins and there is a well-serviced camping ground.
The Western Brush Wallaby's range has contracted with agricultural settlement. They are found in open forest and woodland and forage on seasonally wet flats and depressions with low grasses. Shelter is found in thickets of scrub. They also inhabit mallee, heath land and Karri forest.
Predominantly grazers with some browse in the diet. In Whiteman Park, Perth, they ate about 31% monocotyledons including the dominant lawn grass and 69% dicotyledons. The most common plant in the diet was a cycad, Macrozamia riedlei. Choice amongst the two plant groups was about in proportion to availability suggesting a generalist diet. They will graze into the daylight and so are more easily seen than other wallabies and bettongs which are more strictly nocturnal. They do have unusual dentition with short and relatively small molars and slender lower incisors. The dietary significance of this dentition is yet to be thoroughly researched.
The reproductive biology of the Western Brush Wallaby is poorly studied. Breeding may be seasonal with births between April-May and permanent emergence from the pouch 6-7 months later in October-November.
Solitary in daytime shelters but aggregate on pasture at night. They are usually seen alone or in small groups of two such as a mother and her young-at-foot or a female consorting with a male.
Wann JM, Bell DT (1997) Dietary preferences of the black-gloved wallaby (Macropus irma) and the western grey kangaroo (M. fuliginosus) in Whiteman Park, Perth, Western Australia. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 80, 55-62.