The swamp wallaby (wallabia bicolor) is a macropod marsupial, smaller than the kangaroo and more squat in stature.
It is the only macropod found on Phillip Island but is found down the eastern coast of Australia from Queensland to south western Victoria.
The only surviving member of the genus Wallabi, it is different from other wallabies in that it has a different chromosome number and other features.
On Phillip Island, it lives in the banksia woodlands and coastal heath. Despite its name, it has no connection to actual swamps.
In the forests and woodlands the swamp wallaby shelters during the day under trees and among low vegetation and undergrowth, coming out to feed at dawn and dusk.
The best places to spot a swamp wallaby on Phillip Island are on Cape Woolamai, Summerlands and Oswin Roberts Reserve.
A very shy creature, it will flee through the scrub if disturbed. Walkers can see wallaby paths all through the island’s heath lands.
Its home range is about 16 hectares and can overlap with those of other wallabies. Usually solitary, they tend to gather in groups when grazing.
The wallaby's gait is different to that of the kangaroo. When hopping, the head is down and tail straight out, whereas the kangaroo keeps its head up.
The swamp wallaby has very dark grey to dark chocolate fur with an orange/red chest, a white tip on the tail and a light coloured stripe along each cheek.
The name wallabia bicolor comes from the distinctly different colour fur.
Males grow up to 75cm excluding tail, which is about equal in length to the rest of the body, and weigh about 17 kilograms.
Herbivorous animals, the wallaby eats native grasses, herbs, shrubs, crops, and ferns.
The swamp wallaby can breed all year round, with a gestation period between 33 and38 days. The joey (only one) is carried in the pouch for about 9 months but suckle up to 15 months.
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