Habitat and Distribution: Found in wet forests with thick undergrowth and occasionally dry eucalypt forests in New South Wales (Australia). There is also a surviving feral population on Kauwau Island near Auckland, New Zealand.
Size: 3-4 feet long (including tail); About 11 pounds
Wild Diet: Low vegetation, reedy grasses, bark, stems, herbs, and fungus
Predators: Dingoes, birds of prey, red foxes, and feral cats
Life Span: About 9 years in the wild; 11-15 years in zoos
Reproduction: Parma wallabies are ready to mate around 11.5-16 month of age. After a month-long gestation, a female gives birth to a tiny joey that crawls into her pouch. Newborn joeys weigh less than half an ounce and they are completely dependent on their mothers. They remain in the pouch for about 8 months and then slowly emerge, gradually spending more and more time outside the pouch. At this stage, the baby is called a “joey-at-heel.”
Behavior: Parma wallabies are nocturnal and solitary except when breeding. They shelter in thick scrub during the day and emerge at dusk to feed. They may communicate with mates by wagging tails, stomping feet, clucking, coughing and hissing. Males spend more time actively foraging than females.
IUCN Status: Near Threatened
Parma wallabies were thought to be extinct before they were rediscovered in the 1960s on Kauwau Island. Hunting and habitat loss are the major threats to their sparse and geographically restricted population.
Did you know?
- Parma wallabies have specialized teeth that help grind the fibrous plants they eat.
- Their large hind legs and powerful muscular tails allow them to travel long distances at fast speeds. By storing “strain energy” in their tendons, they can bounce up with relatively little effort.
- Like a cow, the parma wallaby has a multi-chambered stomach. The extra chambers help the wallaby digest as much of its food as possible. They also chew their cud!
- A male is called a boomer, a female is called a flyer, and a group is called a mob.