Red-bellied Pademelons, Thylogale billardierii, are native to Australia and Tasmania, but now are only found on Tasmania. Red-bellied Pademelons were once widespread and abundant on the mainland of Australia, but they have been extinct on the mainland since the early 1900s. Red-bellied Pademelons are still abundant on Tasmania and the larger islands of Bass Strait.
Biogeographic Regions: australian (Native )
- Johnson, K., R. Rose. 1995. Pademelons, Thylogale. Pp. 394-396 in R Strahan, ed. Mammals of Australia. Reed Books.
Thylogale billardierii are short stocky marsupials. Adult males weigh about 7 kg, females only about 4 kg. Pademelons have a short tail and compact body that are useful for maneuvering through dense vegetation. Thylogale billardierii have soft fine fur that is dark brown to grey brown on the dorsal side (back) of the animal, and reddish brown or lighter brown on the ventral side (stomach). The males of Thylogale billardierii have a broad chest and forearms, which are factors that contribute to males being larger than females.(Parks and Wildlife Services of Tasmania)
Range mass: 2.5 to 12 kg.
Range length: 1 to 1.5 m.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: male larger
Habitat and Ecology
Thylogale billardierii inhabit areas of dense vegetation, rainforest and wet forest. Thylogale billardierii will also inhabit wet gullies in dry open eucalyptus field. However, when in a clear area, they usually stay within 100 meters of forest shelter. (PBS)
Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; rainforest
Thylogale billardierii mainly eat short green grasses and herbs, and they occasionally eat taller woody plants. Thylogale billardierii are nocturnal and feed at night close to the protection of the forest. (PBS)
Primary Diet: herbivore (Folivore )
- Tasmanian wolves (Thylacinus cynocephalus)
- Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii)
- spotted-tailed quolls (Dasyurus maculatus)
- wedge-tailed eagles (Aquila audax)
Life History and Behavior
Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical
The lifespan of Thylogale billardierri is around 5-6 years in the wild. There is unsufficient data for the lifespan in captivity. (PBS)
Status: wild: 5 to 6 years.
Status: wild: 5-6 years.
Status: captivity: 8.8 years.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
Thylogale billaridierii are polygynandrous. Occasional clicking can be heard in males chasing after females in oestrus. Immediately after birth, the female again comes into oestrus, but the blastocyst remains in embryonic diapause.
Mating System: polygynandrous (promiscuous)
Like other macropodids, baby Thylogale billardierii nurse in the mothers pouch after a short gestation period. In Thylogale billardierii, pouch life is six and a half months, and the young are weaned from the mothers teat around seven or eight months. Thylogale billardierii are usually sexually mature around fourteen or fifteen months. Thylogale billardierri are solitary animals that come together for mating, and will occasionally share a feeding ground.
Thylogale billardierii reproduce in captivity year round, but in the wild 70% of births are in late autumn. The gestation period is 30 days. The young makes its way into the pouch immediately after birth, and attaches itself to one of four teats. If there are other siblings, the newly born joey will choose a teat not used by a sibling.
Immediately after birth, the mother again comes into oestrus and mates. The resulting embryo develops into the blastocyst stage, and then remains in embryonic diapause. If the current joey is lost or removed, the blastocyst is developed and born 27-28 days later. If the current joey develops naturally, it will be replaced on the night he leaves the pouch by a new young resulting from the activated blastocyst(Rose et al. 1999).
Breeding season: autumn
Average number of offspring: 1.
Average gestation period: 30 days.
Range weaning age: 6 to 12 months.
Average weaning age: 8 months.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 14 to 15 months.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 14 to 15 months.
Key Reproductive Features: year-round breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); viviparous ; delayed implantation
Average birth mass: 0.42 g.
Average gestation period: 29 days.
Average number of offspring: 1.
The young of Thylogale billardierii are exclusively cared for by the mother, until they are weaned at around 7 months. (Rose et al 1999)
Parental Investment: altricial ; female parental care
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 1996Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
- 1996Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
Even though Thylogale billardierii is currently very abundant and widespread in Tasmania. The species is harvested each year to ensure that the numbers remain controlled and abundant.(PBS)
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Thylogale billardierii avidly eat brush and foilage, sometimes competing with the livestock of Tasmanian farmers. This has been controlled recently by the installation of electric fences. (Statham 1994)
Negative Impacts: crop pest
Thylogale billardierii has a soft, fine fur that is valuable to humans. The meat of Thylogale billardierii has little fat, and is palatable to humans. Thylogale billardierii only inhabit Tasmania, this fact has added increased interest in tourism. (Stranham)
Positive Impacts: food ; ecotourism
The Tasmanian pademelon (Thylogale billardierii), also known as the rufous-bellied pademelon or red-bellied pademelon, is the sole endemic species of pademelon, marsupials found in Tasmania, and formerly throughout south-eastern Australia. This pademelon has developed heavier and bushier fur than its northern relatives, who inhabit northern Australia and Papua New Guinea.
Males reach around 12 kg (26.5 lbs) in weight, 1–1.2 metres in length including the tail, and are considerably larger than the females, which average 3.9 kg (8.6 lbs).
Pademelons are solitary and nocturnal, spending the daylight hours in thick vegetation. Rainforest, sclerophyll forest, and scrubland are preferred, although wet gullies in dry open eucalyptus forest are also used. Such places, next to open areas where feeding can occur, are especially favoured. After dusk, the animals move onto open areas to feed, but rarely stray more than 100 metres from the forest edge.
The species is abundant and widespread throughout Tasmania.
Once a part of the diet of the Thylacine, the Tasmanian pademelon is still preyed upon by other predators of the island, including the Tasmanian devil and quolls. Even so, they are abundant to the point of being culled occasionally (along with other wallabies) to reduce competition for grass with the farmed animals. Hunting of the Tasmanian pademelon is allowed, its pelt having some economic value and its meat being palatable.
There is no specific breeding season, though 70% of pademelon births seem to occur around the beginning of winter. Gestation for the female is 30 days. The young are in the pouch for about 6 months thereafter, and are weaned at around 8 months. Joeys are sexually mature at 14–15 months. Pademelons live between 5 to 6 years in the wild.
- Groves, C. P. (2005). "Order Diprotodontia". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
- Menkhorst, P. & Denny, M. (2008). Thylogale billardierii. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 29 December 2008. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
- Menkhorst, Peter (2001). A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia. Oxford University Press. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-19-550870-3.
- AustralianFauna.com article on the Tasmanian pademelon