2001 QUEENSLAND TERM WILDLIFE FIELD GUIDE INDEX

Thylogale thetis  (Red-necked Pademelon)

Classification

Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Marsupialia
Family: Macropodidae

Geographic Range

The Red-necked Pademelon is found on the eastern coast of Australia, from south Queensland to just below mid-coast New South Wales.

Physical Characteristics

Length:Head to Body Length 29-62cm, Tail Length 27-51cm
Mass:Males 7kg; Females 3.8kg
The Red-necked pademelon is brown-grey with a cream underbelly and reddish neck and shoulders. Its tail is held rod-like when hopping.

Natural History

Food Habits

The Red-necked Pademelon feeds on grass, leaves, roots, and bark. At night, it comes to the edge of the forest to feed.

Reproduction

The majority of breeding takes place in autumn and spring in the northern populations and summer in the southern populations. After mating, the embryo develops inside the mother for a short period and is born in a very immature state. It makes its way into the mother's pouch and attaches to a nipple. The immature pademelon remains in the pouch for about 6 1/2 months. When it is finished developing, it leaves the pouch, but will return for milk. Pademelons are in oestrus (heat) soon after they give birth. A female pademelon can become pregnant with another pademelon developing in her pouch. Development inside the female is shorter than development in the pouch, so the female will suspend development of the embryo. When the joey in the pouch has fully developed, development of the embryo will resume. This process allows almost continual reproduction.

Behavior

The Red-necked Pademelon spends most of its day sleeping in a shallow depression in the leaf litter, and on chilly winter mornings may be seen basking in small open areas where the sun penetrates to the forest floor. When moving slowly it travels on all four paws, dragging its tail behind in an unsupportive manner. Its home range is usually between 5-30ha.

Habitat

The Red- necked Pademelon lives in rainforests and eucalypt forests, often on the edge of the forest, hiding in the thicker part. They come out to feed on lush grasses in the cover of darkness.

Conservation/Biodiversity

Red-necked pademelons are common. The Fox and the Dingo are the Red-necked Pademelons' main predators, and possibly large birds of prey. Another factor is habitat destruction.

Economic Benefits for Humans

Positive

Red-necked pademelons are cute and cuddly, which causes tourists to enjoy seeing them.

Comments

The Red-necked pademelon communicates using different sounding clicks and by thumping its hindfeet. When times are hard, the female can "throw" the joey out of her pouch and abort the fetus inside her, allowing her to survive and reproduce another day, rather than her and her young dying. This is an ideal system for the unpredictability of the desert.

Image Source

Reference: Featherdale Wildlife Park, Sydney, Australia

Reference URL: http://www.featherdale.com.au/featherdale/featherdale.ns4/($AnimalsWeb)/Red-necked+Pademelon/$File/Red-necked+Pademelon.jpg


Entry Author: Jennifer Norris Union College 2003

Hobart & William Smith Colleges and Union College
Partnership for Global Education: Queensland Term 2001