Tasmanian pademelon (Thylogale billardierii) between paperbark trees, Narawantapu National Park Bird Hide Walk.
Tasmanian pademelon (Thylogale billardierii), Narawantapu National Park. (photograph: Natalie Mendham)

Kangaroos and wallabies

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​Macropods - kangaroos and wallabies

Kangaroos and wallabies are part of the group known as macropods. The term macropod is derived from the Greek, which means 'large footed'. Members of this group are characterised by their large hind legs and usually move around by hopping. Over 50 species of macropod occur in Australia, and its biogeographic relative, New Guinea. 

All macropods have a forward-opening pouch with four teats. When the new young is born it makes its way into the pouch and attaches itself to a different teat, usually the one diagonally opposite the one previously suckled. Again, soon after the birth the mother will mate. As this cycle continues, it is possible for a female to be suckling a pouch young, a larger young outside the pouch, and be carrying an undeveloped embryo. 

Scientific names

Tasmania has five species of macropods, the commonly-known wallabies and kangaroos, and the lesser known bettongs and potoroos.

  • Forester kangaroo - Macropus giganteus
  • Bennetts (red-necked) wallaby - Notamacropus rufogriseus
  • Pademelon ​(rufous-bellied) - Thylogale billardierii 
  • Eastern bettong - Bettongia gaimardi
  • Long-nosed potoroo​ -​ Potorous tridactylus

Where c​an I see them?