There are several species of macropod (kangaroos and wallabies) in Tasmania. The ones that you are most likely to spot in the Central Highlands are the Bennetts Wallaby, the Long-nosed Potoroo and the Tasmanian Pademelon. The Bennetts or Red Necked Wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus) is sometimes referred to as a kangaroo although it is a wallaby. Males can weigh over 20 kgs and be up to 1.5 metres tall and females can weigh over 15 kgs. Their fur is grey to red and they have a black nose and paws with a white upper lip and underbelly. Their diet consists of grasses and unlike a lot of Tasmanian mammals you will see them out and about during the day.  Although they do not live in packs they often group together at feeding areas from afternoon to dusk: these groups are called mobs. The Tasmanian Bennetts Wallaby breeds during late summer through to autumn. While the gestation period is only 30 days, the joey then spends around 280 days in the mother’s pouch. The Long-nosed Potoroo (Potorous tridactylus) ranges in colour from grey to red-brown depending on its location. The majority have a white tip to their tails and their pointed noses have bare patch above the nostrils. Male Potoroos can weigh up to 1.3 kgs with the females slightly smaller. Their diet consists of insects and seeds, and they dig up roots and fungi with their front paws. The Long-nosed Potoroo is nocturnal so is rarely seen during the day however their runways can be discovered in dense scrub. They follow these tracks to avoid predators such as owls, and are also at risk from quoll and feral cats. Potoroos breed all year round and have the longest gestation period of the macropods at 38 days. They then spend only around 4 months in the pouch. The Tasmanian Pademelon (Thylogale billardierii) gets its name from the Aboriginal word ‘badimaliyan’. They range in colour from dark brown to grey-brown with a reddish underbelly. The males can reach up to 12 kg however the females are much smaller at around 4 kg. Their diet consists of grasses, herbs and moss. Pademelons are nocturnal so feeding occurs after dusk and they spend the day in dense vegetation. They breed year round however the majority of births happen at the beginning of winter. Their gestation period is 30 days and the joeys spend around 6-7 months in the pouch. A Pademelon makes a tasty meal for Tasmanian devils, quoll and wedge-tailed eagles.

Photo credit:  JJ Harrison

Photo credit: JJ Harrison