The sweet face of a Red-necked Wallaby joey recently emerged from its mother’s pouch at Belgrade Zoo.
The zoo currently does not have a name for the joey. Once the youngster begins to spend time outside of mom’s pouch, keepers will be able to determine the sex and find a proper name. They estimate the joey is about five to six months of age.
The Red-necked Wallaby, or ‘Bennett's Wallaby, (Macropus rufogriseus) is a medium-sized macropod marsupial, common in the more temperate and fertile parts of eastern Australia, including Tasmania.
Red-necked Wallabies are distinguished by their black nose and paws, white stripe on the upper lip, and grizzled medium grey coat with a reddish wash across the shoulders. They can weigh 13.8 to 18.6 kilograms (30 to 41 lb) and attain a head-body length of 90 cm (35 in), although males are generally bigger than females. Red-necked Wallabies may live up to 9 years.
After mating, a couple will stay together for one day before separating. A female bears one offspring at a time, and the young stay in the pouch for about 280 days, after which, females and their offspring stay together for only a month.
Females may, however, stay in the home range of their mothers for life while males leave at the age of two. Red-necked Wallabies also engage in alloparental care, in which one individual may adopt the child of another. This is a common behavior seen in many other animal species like wolves, elephants, and fathead minnows.
Red-necked Wallabies are mainly nocturnal, and they spend most of the day resting. Their diets consist of grasses, roots, tree leaves, and weeds.
The Red-necked Wallaby is currently classified as “Least Concern” by the IUCN. In Tasmania and coastal Queensland, their numbers have expanded over the past 30 years because of a reduction in hunting pressure and the partial clearing of forest to result in pastures where Wallabies can feed at night, alongside bush land where they can shelter by day.