Forest-dwelling wallabies are known as “pademelons” (genus Thylogale) and “dorcopsises” (genera Dorcopsis and Dorcopsulus). The name “wallaby” comes from Dharug ‘walabi’ or ‘waliba’. Young wallabies are known as “joeys”, like many other marsupials. Adult male wallabies are referred to as “bucks”, “boomers”, or “jacks”. An adult female wallaby is known as a “doe”, “flyer”, or “jill”. A group of wallabies is called a “court”, “mob”, or “troupe”. Although members of most wallaby species are small, some can grow up to six feet in length (from head to tail).
Wallabies are herbivores whose diet consists of a wide range of grasses, vegetables, leaves, and other foliage. Due to recent urbanization, many wallabies now feed in rural and urban areas. Wallabies cover vast distances for food and water, which is often scarce in their environment. Mobs of wallabies often congregate around the same water hole during the dry season.
Their powerful hind legs are not only used for bounding at high speeds and jumping great heights, but also to administer vigorous kicks to fend off potential predators. The Tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii) has elastic storage in the ankle extensor tendons, without which the animal’s metabolic rate might be 30-50% greater. It has also been found that the design of spring-like tendon energy savings and economical muscle force generation is key for the two distal muscle–tendon units of the Tammar wallaby (Macropus-Eugenii). Wallabies also have a powerful tail that is used mostly for balance and support.
Wallabies face several threats. Wild dogs, foxes, and feral cats are among the predators they face. Humans also pose a significant threat to wallabies due to increased interaction. Many wallabies have been involved in vehicular accidents as they often feed near roads and urban areas.