There was a time when residents of the Tamborine Mountain Escarpment Protection Precinct barely saw a Red-necked Wallaby. It wasn’t because we weren’t looking, it was simply because they never came.
Why? Because the wallabies didn’t have the habitat to support them beyond the borders of Guanaba’s 500 acres.
After residents moved to the Escarpment Protection Precinct, they began reforesting old farmland and tree-felled areas.
This provided more protection and corridor opportunity for Red-necked Wallabies and gave them increased confidence to use newly created corridors as part of their backdrop for foraging, socialising, breeding and feeding their young.
While Red-necked Wallabies do not appear on any at-risk species list, they are still an important part of Tamborine Mountain’s wildlife tapestry.
They rely heavily on the vegetation in the Escarpment Protection Precinct; vegetation that must be retained for these wallabies and other species reliant on this vital area of the Mountain.
The beautiful Red-necked Wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus) is a redhead.
They have white cheeks, from their nose to their eyes and a very distinctive red colouring on the backs of their heads, necks and shoulders.
They have very white chests and greyish fur on the rest of their bodies, speckled throughout with hints of red.
Protected by law in all states, they are found in many parts of eastern Australia – from Queensland right down to Victoria. They are also found in South Australia and Tasmania.
Size of Red-necked Wallabies
There is an amazing variety of shapes and sizes of wallabies and kangaroos in Australia.
The Red-necked Wallaby is a mid-sized macropod (from the family Macropodidae (big feet), which includes kangaroos, tree-kangaroos, pademelons, quokkas and more).
Females can weight from between 11kg and 15kg and grow to around 84cm.
Males can weight from between 15kg to 26kg and grow to around 88cm.
Some males can be much larger than the females and can be further distinguished by their muscle mass.
The habitat for Red-necked Wallabies varies, from dry open forests with protective undergrowth, to grasslands and paddocks; however, they only venture into open areas to forage and return to the protection of the forest during the day and throughout the night.
They love the protection of low-growing shrubs, such as the Grevillea – Red Silky Oak (G. banksii forsteri), which is endemic to South East Queensland, including Tamborine Mountain.
Behaviour of the Red-necked Wallaby
Red-necked Wallabies are crepuscular, which means they appear primarily at dawn and dusk (early mornings and late evenings) to feed.
They like to eat herbs and young shoots and leaves of heathland plants.
They use the dense forest during the day for protection and appear at the edges at the beginning and the end of the day to feed, sometimes in groups (although, they are mainly solitary animals).
Red-necked Wallabies are timid animals who quickly scatter when disturbed, which is why they enjoy the protection of dense forest unaffected by human interference.
Mums tend to “hide” their young in dense vegetation before going out to forage. They then return to their young to suckle. This makes them one of the “hider” species of macropods, which means protective vegetation is essential for their health and stability.
Habitat and a safe environment must be maintained for the Red-necked Wallabies of the Tamborine Mountain Escarpment Protection Precinct. Animals don’t need to be on an at-risk list to make them precious.
For more pictures of Red-necked Wallabies, see the Save Guanaba Facebook page.
Find out more from these great websites
Australia Zoo: Mammals – Red-necked Wallaby
Queensland Museum: Red-necked Wallaby
Australian Native Plants Society: Grevillea banksii
Wildlife Mountain: Red-Necked Wallaby (a website on a group who rehabilitate animals after they are injured or orphaned).