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The Tasmanian Pademelon

The Tasmanian Pademelon, Thylogale billardierii, used to be found in parts of South Australia and Victoria, but is now confined to Tasmania.

Important Ancestor

It is likely that both the Tree Kangaroos and the Rock Wallabies evolved from a species in the Pademelon group.

Size and Habitat

The Pademelons are small short tailed Wallabies.  The Male Tasmanian Pademelons can grow to about 12 Kilograms (26 pounds) with Pademelon the females a little smaller. Typically neither sex reach their maximum size.

They generally live in wetter areas with dense vegetation.

The south east of South Australia and adjacent parts of Victoria are quite wet and these areas used to have Tasmanian Pademelons.

Foxes

One of the differences between Tasmania and the mainland is the presence of a high concentration of Foxes on the mainland.  Foxes are possibly present in Tasmania, but currently only at an estimated average density of no more than one fox to 500 square Kilometres.

There is a serious effort being made to eradicate all the Foxes in Tasmania before they do irreparable damage to the native animals.

Foxes were introduced into Australia for recreational hunting around 1870.  It is not clear how they got to Tasmania, but there is evidence that this is not the first time they have been brought to the island. It is probable that the devils prevent the build up of foxes, but with the reduction in devils numbers because of the devil facial tumor disease foxes might get more of a foothold this time.

If they are allowed to build up in numbers they could cause the extinction of several native animals.

Diet

The Tasmanian Pademelon grazes on short green grasses and broad leafed plants.  They will also browse on tree seedlings.

This means that they can be a problem for farmers growing crops or planting trees.

As with so many animals the increasing Human population is putting their continuing existence in doubt.

Pademelons have certainly been poisoned or shot by farmers who are protecting their plantings.

Predators

These animals do have native predator,  including the Wedge-tailed Eagle.

Before they became extinct there is little doubt that the Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger) used to eat them.  Now they are an important part of the diet of Tasmanian Devils and Spotted Tailed Quolls.

Nocturnal

They are active and eat at night, spending the day hiding in dense thickets of vegetation.

Drunken Wallabies?

A number of Wallabies in Tasmania were reported as showing what appeared to be drunkenness, but they were not drunk, just high on drugs.

Tasmania has the highest legal production of Opium Poppies in the world.  The Wallabies had been feeding on these.

Abundant

Although this animal is extinct on the mainland, they are abundant in Tasmania.  This has increased the conflict with Humans.

As long as the Human population on the island does not continue to increase and the foxes are exterminated the Pademelons should survive.




 
This picture is from the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service.