Bridled Nail-tailed Wallaby 
Bridled Nail-tailed Wallaby
Bridled Nail-tailed Wallaby
Scientific Name:
Onychogalea fraenata
Other Names and/or Listed subspecies:
Merrin
Group:
Mammals
Status/Date Listed as Endangered:
EN-US FWS: December 2, 1970
EN-IUCN: 2008
Area(s) Where Listed As Endangered:
Australia
 
 

The bridled nail-tailed wallaby was once thought to be extinct until rediscovered in 1973 in an area near Queensland. Today it is only found in the Taunton Scientific Reserve of northeastern Australia, and recently, a population was released into Idalia National Park. This creature gets its name from the white "bridle" line that starts on the center of the neck and goes around the shoulders and ending at the forearms on each side. It also possesses a black stripe on its back that runs across the whole body. Another distinguishing feature is its "nail" (horny spur) on the end of its tail that is partially covered by hair. Males are larger than females and can weigh up to 282 lbs. Females can weigh up to 176 lbs.

Historically, the preferred habitat of the species seems to have been acacia shrubland and grassy woodlands in the hot and dry semi-arid region of eastern Australia. In Taunton, reported habitat requirements have been open woodlands and forest containing the poplar box plant Eucalyptus populnea and the brigalow plant Acacia harpophylla. They are shy and solitary creatures, only preferring to be active at night. During the day, they spend much of their time underneath grass or a bush in a small shallow nest. Diet consists of grasses and forbs, and during very dry periods, they feed on false sandalwood. Breeding occurs year round, and the female gives birth to one "joey" (young wallaby) after a gestation period of 23 days. The joey remains in its mother's pouch for about four months.

The population of the bridled nail-tailed wallaby has declined due to competition with domestic animals, loss of habitat, and predation by introduced animals such as foxes and dingoes. The species has been bred successfully in captivity and reintroduced into protected areas, and there are plans for more reintroductions in national parks and nature reserves in the future.






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