(Last Updated On: April 15, 2021)

The brush-tailed rock-wallaby or small-eared rock-wallaby, scientific name Petrogale penicillata is a form of wallaby, certainly one of a number of rock-wallabies within the genus Petrogale.

Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby profile

It inhabits rock piles and cliff strains alongside the Great Dividing Range from about 100 km north-west of Brisbane to northern Victoria, in vegetation starting from rainforest to dry sclerophyl forests.

Populations have declined severely within the south and west of its range, however, it stays regionally frequent in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland.

However, because of the massive bushfire occasion presently occurring in South-East Australia around 70% of all of the wallaby’s habitat has been lost as of January 2020.

A small and muscular macropod, the Brush-tailed rock-wallaby is thought for its long and bushy tail, white cheek stripe, and black stripe from its brow to the back of its head.

The Brush-tailed rock-wallaby is discovered from South-Eastern Queensland to Western Victoria, roughly following the road of the Great Dividing Range.

Their range has considerably declined, leaving remaining populations fragmented and weak to additional disaster. They inhabit rocky escarpments, outcrops, and cliffs with a choice for complicated buildings with fissures, caves, and ledges, typically dealing with the north.

The brush-tailed rock wallabies’ most notable characteristic, as their name implies, is the distinctively bushy tail. They are medium-sized wallabies with adults starting from six to eight kilograms.

They are very agile, transferring confidently and swiftly round their rocky habitat utilizing their long, thickly furred tail for stability and padded feet for grip.

Brush-tailed rock-wallabies have very distinctive facial markings with a white cheek stripe and a black stripe from the attention to the back of the top. Their bodies are brown with gray shoulders and darker feet. This permits them to camouflage themselves effectively of their habitat and they’re typically onerous to identify.

Foraging areas might embrace forests, woodlands, and pastures. The Brush-tailed rock-wallaby has a blended diet: grass is the primary merchandise, however flowers, forbs, leaves, fruit, bark, and fungi are additionally eaten.

Threats to the Brush-tailed rock-wallaby are different however embrace predation by foxes, cats, and wild dogs, competitors with feral goats in addition to pigs, degradation and fragmentation of habitat, hearth regimes that cut back the abundance and variety of ground forage, and infestation by invasive weeds inflicting loss.

The brush-tailed rock-wallaby might be present in fragmented populations roughly following the Great Dividing Range from southeast Queensland to Western Victoria’s Grampians. They dwell on rocky escarpments, granite outcrops, and cliffs, which have caves and ledges for shelter and face north for heat.

They graze on native grasses present in the surrounding habitat at daybreak and nightfall. They additionally feed on the foliage and fruits of shrubs and timber in addition to roots and bark.

The inhabitants of untamed Brush-tailed rock-wallabies are in decline – with lower than 20,000 anticipated to be left within the wild and as little as below 10 in some fragmented populations.

Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby

Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby Geographic Range

Native to Australia, brush-tailed rock-wallabies are distributed alongside rocky escarpments of the Great Dividing Range from southern Queensland to western Victoria.

Although frequent in south-eastern Queensland and northern New South Wales, populations within the southern and western elements of the range have declined.

Remnant populations in Victoria and western New South Wales are endangered. Only three colonies in south-eastern Australia stay, and estimates of the total wild inhabitants in this area are fewer than 12 people.

Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby was launched in Hawaii and New Zealand. In Hawaii, small inhabitants of rock-wallabies descended from two animals have existed on the island of Oahu since 1916.

In New Zealand, brush-tailed rock-wallabies had been launched within the 1870s and might be discovered on Kawau, Rangitoto, and Montutapu islands. On a few of these islands, rock-wallabies are usually culled as a result of they’ve reached pest proportions.

Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby Description

A species of Petrogale, the rock wallabies, with a dense and shaggy pelage that’s rufous or gray-brown. The tail is 500 to 700 millimeters long, exceeding the 510 to 580 mm mixed size of the top and body.

The color of the tail is brown or black, the fur changing into bushy in direction of its shaggy, brush-like end. The weight range is from 5 to eight kilograms.

The higher elements of this wallaby’s pelage are both totally rufous-brown, or a gray-brown over the back and shoulders with brown fur on the thigh and rump.

The paler below elements might characteristic a white blazon on the chest. Very darkish fur covers the decrease elements of the limbs, paws, and feet, and on the edges beneath the forelimbs of the animal; a whitish stripe might seem alongside the facet of the body.

The coloration of the species within the northern elements of inhabitants is paler and fur is shorter in size. The black-footed and flanked species Petrogale lateralis, which happens in central Australia, is distinguished by its bigger size and the shorter and darker fur of the tail and hind elements.

Herbert’s rock-wallaby (P. herberti) overlaps within the northern range of this species, their coloration is greyer than the nice and cozy brown of this species and lighter on the darker options of the limbs; the tail of that species additionally lacks the blackish options and bushy end.

The pads of the feet are effectively developed and their coarse texture permits good traction on rock surfaces.

Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby Physical traits

Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby has a dull-brown back, paler chest, and stomach, a rufous rump, and black, furry feet. They have a black axillary patch typically extending as a darkish stripe to the margin of the hindlegs.

Their tail darkens distally with a distinguished brush. Their pelage is long and thick, particularly concerning the rump, flanks, and base of the tail.

Animals from the northern part of the range are usually lighter and have a much less distinguished tail brush.

They have long tails, barely longer than their head and body size. Head and body size average 55.7 cm in males and 53.6 cm in females, whereas tail size averages 61.1 cm in males and 56.3 cm in females.


The species is ready to negotiate troublesome rocky terrain with great agility, their compact but highly effective construct is assisted by counter-balancing the long tail and feet suited to holding the animal at precarious edges and on inclined surfaces.

The species favors north dealing with refugees, and whereas largely nocturnal in venturing out from shelter they may indulge in winter solar for brief intervals.

Procreation is based on breeding females utilizing a single male for insemination, with births that happen all through the year. Groups in cooler latitudes or higher altitudes might have a tendency to breed in an interval between February to May.

The females of the colony cohere as maternal teams, with male progeny transferring to different teams inside the colony or migrating to a different location. Individual foraging territories for the species are around 15 hectares, maybe more for males.

Brush-tailed rock-wallabies are social animals that type small colonies with dominant hierarchies. Individuals have overlapping house ranges with unique den sites.

Females are gregarious; they typically share den sites with their feminine relations and so they usually groom one another.

Rock-wallabies keep an attachment to an exactly outlined habitat with a strict social organization. One noticed inhabitants of brush-tailed rock-wallabies maintained, throughout each good and unhealthy years, adult inhabitants of 5 to seven people by violently evicting younger quickly after weaning.

In captivity, which means weaned younger could also be killed if they’re unable to flee from the enclosure. Males are not often inside 5 meters of one other male.

When males are in shut proximity, there may be nearly at all times a violent interplay. Females are more tolerant of the shut proximity of different females than are males of different males.

Females do, nevertheless, generally displace each other and interact in agonistic interactions. Additionally, females have been seen driving away feminine and sub-adult male intruders from the neighborhood of their refuges.

Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby

Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby Distribution and habitat

Found alongside the Great Dividing Range in fragmented populations that stay after its historic contraction in the range from the east and south.

The southern fringe of the range is the Grampians, and no additional west than the Warrumbungles range in New South Wales. The northernmost teams have remained much less affected by ecological modifications, these are present in southeast Queensland.

Brush-tailed rock-wallabies dwell on rock faces near grassy areas and infrequently in open forests. They desire sites with quite a few ledges, caves, and crevices. They sometimes occupy sites with a northerly facet, with a purpose to solar themselves within the morning and the night.

Originally widespread and considerable, brush-tailed rock-wallabies had been present in appropriate rocky areas in all kinds of habitats, together with rainforest gullies, moist and dry sclerophyll forest, open woodland, and rocky outcrops in the semi-arid nation.

Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby shelters throughout the day in rocky habitat, inside vegetation, or cavities of ideally complicated terrain that enables them to search out cooler temperatures and to elude or stay inaccessible to predators. Their great agility whereas hopping and climbing offers alternatives at ledges, cliff-faces, overhangs, caves, and crevices.

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Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby Communication

Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby engages in allogrooming, the place one animal bites and licks the fur of one other animal, which can serve a task in reinforcing dominance standing.

Other examples of communicative behaviors embrace making vocalizations (a hissing cough sound), staring intensely, and aggressive behaviors reminiscent of nostril jabbing (one animal thrusting its nostril towards one other animal). Males might study potential feminine mates by approaching the feminine and sniffing her rump or cloaca.

Additionally, some proof means that adult males deposit scent marks inside their space of control.

Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby

Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby Food Habits

Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby feeds largely on grasses, which comprise 35-50% of its total diet, however will complement its diet with leaves, sedges, ferns, roots, bark, fruit, seeds, and flowers.

Brush-tailed rock-wallabies select to forage in places with more forbs and brief green grasses. There is little seasonality of diet. Also, the relative proportions of various meals sorts within the diet are range little amongst areas, regardless of various vegetation.

This suggests particular meals choice with little or no seasonal shortages of most well-liked meals. Since brush-tailed rock-wallabies eat a large range of meal gadgets, they’re probably buffered towards drought and towards competitors with more specialized herbivores.

Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby Predation

Since brush-tailed rock-wallabies exhibit very high constancy to diurnally used sites, predators might discover it straightforward to study the place to search out them.

Furthermore, as a result of colonies are small (because of declining inhabitants size), fewer people can be found to be alert with the purpose to detect and warn of approaching predators.

Since Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby has been noticed to take care of a comparatively fixed level of vigilance no matter surrounding vegetation, nevertheless, it has been steered that these animals depend on early detection of predators. Additionally, brush-tailed rock-wallabies are a lot more agile than their predators.

Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby Ecosystem

When they had been more widespread, brush-tailed rock-wallabies considerably affected agricultural plant species. In 1880, laws were handed in New South Wales declaring kangaroos and wallabies as vermin.

A bounty was supplied on brush-tailed rock-wallabies, suggesting that they threatened agricultural manufacturing. They apparently invaded orchards and vegetable gardens with their potential to leap on top of fences, and fed closely on the vegetation there.

Additionally, it’s possible that brush-tailed rock-wallabies assist in dispersing the seeds of the fruit they eat. For occasion, massive numbers of the seeds of Persoonia linearis had been discovered within the wallabies’ faecal pellets collected within the spring.

Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby Reproduction

Brush-tailed rock-wallabies breed year-round. The few matings which have been noticed amongst Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby contain solely females and males who’re established on refuges.

A notable characteristic of brush-tailed rock-wallabies, in addition to different Petrogale species, is shut and regular affiliation between the refuge-guarding male and the females who use his refuge. Association includes mutual grooming and unusually high tolerance of proximity.

Though particulars are unavailable on brush-tailed rock-wallabies, most species of Macropodidae are promiscuous.

Brush-tailed rock-wallabies have a unique mating system than most associated species in three respects:

1) a higher proportion of adult males are probably to participate in breeding and will accomplish that for a few years,

2) variance in male reproductive success is comparatively low, and three) just some weaned females, these in a position to set up themselves on a refuge, are prone to breed in any respect.

Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby

Females are sexually mature by 18 months, and males by 20 months. They breed all year, mating quickly after giving beginning. Development of the embryo is delayed till the pouch is vacated.

Pregnancy lasts 31 days, after which a single younger is born and attaches to one of many four teats within the pouch. The younger stays within the pouch for about 29 weeks, then suckles at the foot for about three months.

In captive animals, post-partum estrous was sometimes noticed on an identical day as the beginning, even generally showing inside a number of hours.

The process of beginning has been noticed on one event within the rock-wallaby Petrogale penicillata inornata. The feminine sat on the bottom of her tail, her body leaning ahead with a purpose to deliver the top near the urogenital opening and pouch.

The birth was accompanied by a small quantity of clear fluid and blood, which the mom cleaned because the new child younger went towards the pouch opening.

It took 45 seconds for the toddler to achieve the pouch opening from the urogenital opening. The mom remained within the beginning place for 10 more minutes, licking across the urogenital opening.


The Brush-tailed rock-wallaby was as soon as frequent all through South-East Australia, but because of clearing of native habitat, unique plant introduction, predation by launched species, and altering hearth patterns because of local weather change they’ve been worn out from a lot of their Southern and Western range.

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