More commonly known as pretty-faced or whiptail wallaby, Macropus parryi is identified by its distinct white cheeks and long tail. In fact, the tail of this creature often equals or exceeds the length of its body and head combined. Total length can exceed 7 feet in males of the species. The majority of the body is colored pale brown except for the base of the ears, the forehead and the tip of the tail, which are dark brown.
Range mass: 7 to 26 kg.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry
Habitat and Ecology
The whiptail wallaby is found at a higher density at high altitudes on slopes under canopy cover. No other wallaby prefers this exact combination of habitat characteristics.
However, another inhabitant of this area is Macropus parryi's only predator other than humans, the dingo.
Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland ; mountains
During seasons with high temperatures, the whiptail wallaby feeds only in the early morning and late afternoon, taking cover under foliage during the temperature peak. During the winter months it is seen feeding at all times of day.
Grasses, ferns and herbaceous plants are the foods of choice.
Life History and Behavior
Status: captivity: 9.7 years.
Status: wild: 10.0 years.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
The whiptail wallaby reaches sexual maturity between 18 and 24 months for females and at over 2 years for males.
Macropus parryi gives birth to a single young, frequently around January, after a gestation period of approximately 34-38 days. This is followed by 37 weeks of nursing, during which the young wallaby suckles on one of four teats in its mother's pouch. Unlike some other species of wallaby, in which a mother forceably removes her young when the time is right, the young Macropus parryi leaves the protective pouch on its own. Newborn young have a mass of about one gram (less than 0.03 ounces.)
Average gestation period: 36 days.
Average number of offspring: 1.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
Sex: male: 883 days.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
Sex: female: 745 days.
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 1996Lower Risk/least concern
- 1996Lower Risk/least concern
Currently there is no special conservation effort for whiptail wallabies in particular because they are common and are not used for commercial harvesting. They consist of a small percentage of the commercial quota for all types of macropods and are not typically used as a meat source.
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
The only negative effect of the whiptail wallaby on humans is that in developed areas the wallaby may be intrusive. This primarily includes being hit by cars.
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
Macropus parryi positively benefits humans as a pet. In fact, the first of its species ever to be found and identified, by Sir Edward Parry in 1834 was kept by him as a pet at his home where it behaved much like a domesticated dog.
The whiptail wallaby (Macropus parryi), also known as the pretty-faced wallaby, is a species of wallaby found in eastern Australia. It is locally common from Cooktown in Queensland to near Grafton in New South Wales.
The whiptail wallaby is distinguished by its paler colouring and white stripe under its face. Their faces have a chocolate-brown fur covering their muzzle. They are black and white on its chest and the rest is grey to brown fur. Males weigh from 14 to 26 kilograms and stand at a height from 70 to 93 cm. Females weigh from 7 to 15 kilograms and stand at a height from 65 to 75 cm.
The whiptail wallaby lives in grasslands and woodlands particularly on hills or slopes. It is primarily a grazer. In grasslands, the wallaby primarily eats kangaroo grass. It also eats monocots in nearby creeks. It is primarily a diurnal species. It is active in the morning and late in the afternoon but continues into “to an unknown extent during the night”.
The whiptail wallaby is a sociable species, sometimes coming together in mobs of up to 50. They live in a home range of up to 110 hectares. The mob usually gathers in the afternoon during feeding. Some home ranges may overlap with others and the member of the mob take turns resting and guarding. The mobs contain all ages and sexes throughout the year, but seldom if ever were all members of a mob together at one time.  Mobs often split into continually changing subgroups of fewer than ten animals. Wallaby mobs have a linear hierarchy that is determined by ritualized “pawing” which is non-violent. They may also pull grass. Wallabies will cough to show submission. These bouts function only to determine access to oestrous females. 
The most dominant males mate with the females. A male will wander though a gathering of female stiffing their cloacae and tasting their urine. When a male finds a female close to estrous, he stays with her. However before she enters estrous, he may be replaced by a more dominant male. The estrous cycle for a Whiptail Wallaby lasts for only 42 days.
Joeys stay in their mother’s pouches for the first nine months. When they leave will they will still stay with them for up to 18 months. Whiptail joeys follow their mother continuously and do not hide in vegetation. Subadult male wallabies sometimes leave their natal groups.
The whiptail wallaby is present in many protected areas. There appear to be no major threats to this species, although land clearing has probably resulted in the loss of suitable habitat and certainly has been responsible for range contraction at the southern end of its range.
- Groves, C. P. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. eds. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 65. OCLC 62265494. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3.
- Winter, J., Burnett, S. & Martin, R. (2008). Macropus parryi. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 28 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. 110.
- Ride W D L. A Guide to the Native Mammals of Australia. Ed. Fry Ella. Melbourne New York: Oxford University Press, 1970.
- Hume Ian D. Marsupial Nutrition. Cambridge UK ; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
- Kaufmann, John H. "Habitat use and Social Organization of Nine Sympatric Species of Macropodid Marsupials." Journal of Mammalogy 55.1 (1974): 66-80.
- Kaufmann, John H. "Social Ethology of the Whiptail Wallaby, Macropus Parryi, in Northeastern New South Wales." Animal Behaviour 22.2 (1974): 281-369.
- Fisher, D. O., S. P. Blomberg, and I. P. F. Owens. "Convergent Maternal Care Strategies in Ungulates and Macropods." Evolution 56.1 (2002): 167-76.
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