5 Unbelievable Facts About Wallabies

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wallaby and joeyPhoto: sontag

You might think you already know everything there is to know about wallabies, but the chances are that you are mistaken – their world contains a whole secret knowledge to discover. Here are some little known facts about wallabies.

newborn joeyPhoto: sontag

1. Wallabies are Pink and Furless at Birth

When joeys are born they are blind and furless and about the size of a proverbial jellybean. Yes, tiny! They are, in fact, only a little past the embryonic stage. And, after the 4 to 5 week gestation period, the new arrival’s first trip is across its mother’s fur and into the pouch. Here the joey attaches to the teat to suckle for six or seven months. A joey will remain in the pouch until it has developed fully. Only when it has fur and sight and is able to jump to safety does it emerge.

At first, the joey spends varying lengths of time out of the pouch, grazing and acquiring vital survival skills. When it needs to sleep or it feels threatened, however, the joey will return to the pouch. In some species, joeys stay in the pouch for up to a year or until the next joey is born. However, for most wallabies the young are thought to be independent by 9 months.

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Black+wallabyPhoto: sontag

2. Wallabies Have Aquatic Skills

Most Australians, who live in the land of bouncing marsupials, are not aware that these creatures can swim. Unless they are zoologists, that is. But they do, as you can see.

Many people are impressed with macropods (a term which means ‘big foot’) because of their ability to jump using their powerful hind legs as well as the way they carry their young in a pouch. But kangaroos and wallabies are also competent swimmers. On land, they can only move their hind feet together but when swimming they can kick each leg independently. And, apparently they make efficient swimmers when they swap their hopping action for a ‘doggy’ paddle style, according to Tish Ennis of the Australian Museum.

Apparently, these mammals are most frequently seen swimming at dusk. Like the Black or Swamp Wallaby (Wallabia bicolour) pictured here. But most reports associated with kangaroos and wallabies swimming habits are anecdotal and more rigourous research is yet to be conducted. The reasons why they swim also remain unclear. But from what I’ve witnessed, wallabies simply like it.

Just to really blow your mind, wombats and echnidas like to take a dip too.

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