Despite its common name, the Swamp Wallaby (Wallabia bicolor) is not restricted to swamps. It does inhabit moist thickets and mangroves but also is found in open forests as long as there are patches of dense cover. It is nocturnal and hops heavily with the body well bent over and the head held low. The species is usually solitary, but unrelated animals may gather at an attractive food source. Individuals of both sexes maintain small, overlapping home ranges.
Swampies are mostly grizzle black, with a black mask across their eyes, and black ears trimmed in a golden-orange. They may also have pink fingernails. Adults have a very strong musky type odor.
Sexual maturity occurs around 16-18 months. Only a single young is born. Pouch life is complete by 8-9 months and suckling continues until 15 months of age.
Wallabies are browsers, feeding on a wide range of plants, shrubs, ushes, grasses, herbs, and ferns. They can eat poisonous plants such as Bracken fern and hemlock without any ill effects.
This Wallaby species occurs in eastern Queensland, eastern New South Wales, Victoria and southeastern South Australia.1 It has been successfully introduced to New Zealand. In Australia, swamp wallabies will graze agricultural crops, especially cereal grain, and pine tree seedlings and can cause some damage. In New Zealand, they are a minority species and are thought unlikely to cause too much damage.2
wallaby populations have declined due to the clearing of their habitat. They now reside in the USA, Canada and other countries.
- Walker's Mammals of the World, Volume 1. Ronald M. Nowak
- Introduced Mammals of the World: Their History, Distribution and Influence. John L Long
- Macropod Husbandry, Healthcare and Medicinals--Volumes One and Two. Lynda Staker