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Sharman's rock-wallaby

Common name: Sharman's rock-wallaby

Scientific name: Petrogale sharmani

Family: Macropodidae (wallabies, kangaroos and tree-kangaroos)

Conservation status: Sharman's rock-wallaby is listed as Vulnerable in Queensland (Nature Conservation Act 1992) and it is ranked as a low priority under the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) Back on Track species prioritisation framework.

Description

Sharman's rock-wallaby is a small macropod. The adult male has an average weight of 4.4 kg and the adult female averages 4.1 kg. Males have an average head length of 112 mm and an average tail length of 515 mm. Females have an average head length of 107 mm and an average tail length of 465 mm. The wallaby is generally grey-brown above and paler sandy brown on the underparts, limbs and at the base of the tail. The tail darkens to almost black toward the tip. Pale cheek stripes and a slight mid-dorsal head stripe are occasionally present.

Habitat and distribution

Sharman's rock-wallaby has a restricted distribution, centred on the Seaview and Coane Ranges, west of Ingham in north-east Queensland. It inhabits rocky slopes, rocky outcrops, boulder piles, cliff lines and gorges, usually associated with tropical woodland with a grassy understorey.

Life history and behaviour

Sharman's rock-wallaby is active at dawn and dusk during winter and practically nocturnal in summer. It seeks shelter in caves, in deep crevices and fissures in rock, under boulders, or in dense vegetation during the heat of the day. Rock-wallabies sunbake in the early morning and late afternoon in cooler weather, by sitting on exposed rocks or ledges. It feeds in surrounding woodland during the night. Rock-wallabies are opportunistic feeders and their diets are likely to include grasses, forbs, leaves, fruit, seeds and flowers.

This rock-wallaby is highly social and forms colonies of up to 80 individuals. There is no distinct breeding season and young are produced continually throughout the year. Both sexes mature at around 18 months of age. Their gestation period is 30-32 days and the young remain in the mother's pouch for 6-7 months.

Threatening processes

Sharman's rock-wallaby is vulnerable to disturbances, chance events and catastrophes because of its restricted distribution. Land clearance, mining, exotic predators, degradation of habitat by feral and domestic herbivores and changed fire regimes are also suspected to affect this species.

Recovery actions

  • Control feral animals, such as wild dogs and feral cats in areas of known wallaby habitat.
  • Encourage landholder education concerning this species and develop recommended cattle grazing regimes to enable rock-wallaby populations to increase while maintaining agricultural production.
  • Locate and monitor all extant populations.
  • Survey Hinchinbrook Island to determine if this species is present.

Related information

Eldridge, MDB and Close, RL 2008, Sharman’s Rock-wallaby, In Van Dyck S and Strahan, R (eds), The Mammals of Australia, Reed New Holland.

Last updated
6 January 2015