Australia's most endangered macropod
The Bridled Nailtail wallaby (Onychogalea fraenata), colloquially called the Flashjack wallaby, is a nocturnal species that could once be found in the semi-arid country from far north Queensland to as far south as the Murray River in New South Wales; an area of hundreds of thousands of square kilometres. Predominately ash-grey in colour but distinctively marked with a white ‘bridle’ running down the back of the neck and behind the shoulders, a black stripe extending the length of the spine and white cheek patches, the wallaby is one of the smaller members of the kangaroo family. Members of the kangaroo family are also known as macropods, meaning ‘big-foot’!
Its group, or genus, consists of three species all known as the Nailtail Wallabies. The name ‘nailtail’ refers to a small, horny ‘nail’ at the tip of the tail. It is not known what the purpose of the nail is, or if indeed it has one! Unfortunately, of the three species, one is extinct (the Crescent Nailtail wallaby). The third, the Northern Nailtail wallaby, appears to be still doing well and remains widespread across Northern Australia.
There seem to be multiple and complex reasons for the Flashjacks’ decline, including land clearing, habitat modification and predation by feral animals such as cats and foxes. About half of the newly emerged young, weighing only a few hundred grams, are killed by feral cats. Adult males weigh 5-8 kg, females 4-5 kg.
|The nail on the nailtail (M Woods)||A 5yr old female (Bryan Siebel)|