We see red-necked pademelons (Thylogale thetis), usually alone but sometimes two or three together, in our backyard in early morning and twilight. They are very shy and bolt at the slightest disturbance. The joeys are tiny and very cute.
Up on the mountain, there’s a wallaby I haven’t seen and have now only seen it vicariously. It’s the red-legged pademelon (Thylogale stigmatica). Unfortunately, it was dead when neighbour Jacki found it on her property. Note the darker neck which is one way to distinguish it from the red-necked pademelon. This one had no marks on it, so may have died from natural causes – old age, ticks, internal parasites.
It is a threatened species. The Office of Environment and Heritage website says:
- Inhabits forest with a dense understorey and ground cover, including rainforest, moist eucalypt forest and vine scrub.
- Wet gullies with dense, shrubby ground cover provide shelter from predators.
- In NSW, rarely found outside forested habitat.
- They disperse from dense shelter areas to feed from late afternoon to early morning, favouring native grasses and herbs on the edge of the forest.
- Also known to feed on fruits, young seedling leaves and stems, fungi and ferns.
The red-legged pademelon behaviour varies in different circumstances. They show least activity in the hours around midday and midnight. Late afternoon, evening and early morning they can be seen grazing on open grassland near the rainforest edges but quickly retreat into the forest if disturbed. They are generally solitary but may group together at night while feeding on grasslands. They feed at equal distances apart and are under the control of one dominant pademelon that controls their feeding area and sets their feeding distance. They communicate by vocalizations and thumping their heels on the ground. They use several vocalizations in social behaviour. In hostile interactions and if a female rejects a male during courtship, a harsh rasping sound is uttered. Soft clucking sounds are made by the courting male; similar sounds are made when a mother is calling her young.
… When the animal is resting, it sits on the base of its tail whilst placing the rest of it between the hind legs. The animal then leans back against a rock or sapling. As it falls asleep, its head leans forward to rest on the tail or on the ground beside it.
Finding a corpse at least shows they are still around. Thanks to Jacki for bringing it to my attention.