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The Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby

The Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby,  Petrogale xanthopus, is probably the prettiest of all the Wallabies.  It has a coat of yellow, brown, white and black.

This animal’s colouring is good camouflage when it is at home on its rocks in the arid interior of Australia.  Unfortunately, it was also in demand for fur coats, and many of these inoffensive animals were killed.

Size

Wallabies are smaller than Kangaroos. (This is leaving out such animals as the Tree Kangaroos and the Rat Kangaroos).  The Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby is generally between 6 and 12 Kilograms (13 – 26 Lb) in weight.  It can be about 60 centimetres (2 feet) high.

Diet

The Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby eats grasses and other plants.  It will also eat some tree and shrub leaves.  The feet have excellent grip on the rocks and the animal can even climb trees with sloping trunks.  This allows it to get some of the higher branches.  It will also eat bark if nothing better is available.

Water

This Wallaby needs to drink, but its water requirements are fairly low.  Generally, a colony needs to be within about 5 Kilometres of a water source.

Heat Tolerant

The areas it comes from are hot in the daytime, especially in the summer.  At the hottest time of the year. This Wallaby becomes nocturnal.  Is spends the day in shade on its rocky out crop and goes onto the plain to eat during the day.

When the weather is cooler, it will eat at the going down of the sun and in the morning, and only avoid the hottest part of the day.

Predators

The main native predator of the Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby was the Wedge Tailed Eagle, but evidence seems to suggest that Wallabies have never been an important part of their diet.  Goannas may also eat the occasional Wallaby.

The other predators are introduced animals.  The first one was the Dingo.  This was introduced as a domestic Dog several thousand years ago; it became feral.

More recently, the Europeans have introduced Foxes for recreational hunting.  Cats are also a problem.

The Biggest Threat

The Biggest threat to this animal is the feral Goats.  These eat the food of the Wallabies.  In areas where the Goats are controlled the Wallabies are doing reasonable well.

Vulnerable

Although this animal is only listed as vulnerable, in fact the numbers in the wild are declining.  Without the active intervention of Humans, this species would probably become extinct quite soon. 

Before we came, it was a very successful animal in its own habitat.



The pictures below were taken by Steve Challis at Monato Zoo.