Rock Wallaby

There are many different rock wallaby species.

Rock wallabies (Petrogale sp.) are an interesting group of Australian animals - they are a special kind of wallabies that live on rocky outcrops.


They are small animals, not taller than a half a metre and they have very strong back legs that make it easier to hop on the rocks.

Rock Wallaby
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Rock wallabies shelter in caves and rock crevices. They eat mostly grass, but don’t mind leaves and fruit sometimes. They have a special gland in the stomach that enables them to have such highly fibrous food, low in nutrients. Introduced animals like feral goats compete with rock wallabies for food and shelter. Rock wallabies live in colonies, the size of which depends on the availability of food and shelter.

The colonies are dominated by an old male and include several females and juveniles. Females can breed all year around, but they usually avoid unfavourable conditions such as drought or floods. As with other marsupials, the new-born young is undeveloped and needs to spend some time in its mother’s pouch (time varies between species). Once big enough, the young is left to cave while mother is foraging. Rock wallabies live up to eight years.

Black-Footed Rock Wallaby, (Petrogale Lateralis), Magnetic Island, Queensland, Australia
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As other macropods, they stand up and look around for predators every now and again while feeding. They are much safer on the rocks than they’d be on open ground. On the rocks, they are camouflaged, and not many predators are as skilful and quick hoppers on such uneven ground. Because they are not safe enough to cross open land, rock wallaby populations easily become isolated. In isolation, each population develops to adapt to the local conditions, and can finally develop into different species.

Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby
Petrogale penicillata is found along the Great Dividing Range from southern Queensland to north-eastern Victoria. It is up to 700mm long, weighs up to 10kg, and has a shaggy brown to reddish fur. It lives in eucalypt forests where it eats grass, leaves, seeds, flowers and fruits. It is mostly nocturnal.

Black-Footed Rock Wallaby (Petrogale Lateralis), Magnetic Island, Queensland, Australia
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Proserpine Rock Wallaby
Petrogale Persephone lives in coastal Queensland around Airlie Beach, Proserpine and even some of the Whitsunday islands. It is about 600mm long, weighs up to almost 7kg, and has dark greyish brown fur. The ears are orange inside and black outside. It lives in coastal forest and open grassy woodland, and it eats grass and leaves. The species is endangered.

Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby
Petrogale xanthopus is the largest of the rock wallabies. It can be up to 700mm long and weigh up to 12kg. It has got a grey fur, striped tail and orange-yellow ears, arms and legs. It lives in open woodland where it eats grass and leaves. Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby is found in semi-arid habitats mostly in South Australia, but also in places of eastern Victoria and inland Queensland. The best place to see it is Flinders Ranges in South Australia.

Yellow Footed Rock-Wallaby (Petrogale Xanthopus), Idalia National Park, Queensland, Australia
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Black-footed Rock Wallaby
Petrogale lateralis is mostly found in Macdonnell Ranges in the Northern Territory, but also in places in South Australia and Western Australia. It is a small wallaby, up to 600mm long and can weigh up to 4.5kg. It has a grey-brown fur and black tail, ears and bottom of its feet. It is mostly nocturnal and eats mainly grasses, but some leaves and fruits as well.

Mareeba Rock Wallaby
Petrogale Mareeba is an about 500mm long animal that weighs up to 4.5kg and is found in Granite Gorge near Mareeba in Atherton Tablelands in north Queensland. It lives in open forest where it eats grass and leaves, and is usually grey-brown but can be dark or black depending on the habitat. Mareeba Rock Wallaby only obtained a species status in 1992.

Black-Footed Rock Wallaby (Petrogale Lateralis), Magnetic Island, Queensland, Australia
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Nabarlek
Nabarlek (Petrogale Concinna) is a small rock wallaby, up to 350mm long and it weights 1.7kg. It is found along the northern coast of Northern Territory and the Kimberley in Western Australia. It has a dull reddish grey fur and its tail has a dark brushy tip. It lives in woodlands where it eats grass and ferns.

Australian Rock Wallabies - Monjon
Monjon (Petrogale burbidgei), also called Warabi, is the smallest of the rock wallabies – it is about 300mm long and weighs up to 1.4kg. It lives along the northern coast of Kimberley in Western Australia. It has a reddish brown fur, short ears and olive-grey tail with brushy tip. Monjon is mostly nocturnal and lives in open woodland where it eats grass, leaves and fruit.

Black-Footed Rock Wallaby (Petrogale Lateralis), Magnetic Island, Queensland, Australia
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Where to See Australian Rock Wallabies
Good places to see rock wallabies are Mutawintji National Park in New South Wales, Idalia National Park in Queensland, the Grampians in Victoria, Gammon Ranges in South Australia, Kalbarri National Park in Western Australia, and Macdonnell Ranges in Northern Territory.

















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