Desert Shrublands & Grasslands (Mulga & Spinifex)

Class Mammalia

Order Peramelemorphia: Bandicoots

(Barna Mia, Dryandra)

Macrotis lagotis, '(Greater) Bilby'. Bandicoot shaped, but with very long rabbit like ears. Digs down-spiralling burrows into which it shelters by day or hides from predators. A previously widespread species found in arid habitats across Australia, and until the turn of last century was recorded around Adelaide and Perth, however, it is now rare and mostly restricted to arid parts of north west. Has been re-introduced into Cape Peron area of Shark bay and some WA islands.

Order Diprotodontia

Superfamily Macropodoidea: Kangaroos and Wallabies

Many species of kangaroo and larger wallaby are sexually dimorphic, with the males being a different colour and much bigger than females.

Family Potoroidae

(Barna Mia, Dryandra)

Bettongia lesueur, 'Burrowing Bettong', 'Boodie'. Once very common, this species is mostly extinct on the mainland, now survives only on islands. Lived in dry woodlands and arid grasslands. 

(Barna Mia, Dryandra)

Lagorchestes hirsutus, 'Rufous Hare-Wallaby', 'Mala'. This species is now mostly extinct on the mainland, and survives only on islands. Lived in arid grasslands. 

Family Macropodidae

There are over 60 species of kangaroo and wallaby found Australia, including many species across the arid habitats of the continent.

(Alice Springs Botanical Gardens, N.T.)

Osphranter robustus, 'Euro', '(western) Wallaroo'. These large kangaroos have more developed fore-arms and longer fur than grey or red kangaroos (making them appear 'shaggier'). They live mostly on and around rocky hills, but are larger and clumsier in their rocky habitat than rock wallabies. They are usually seen in pairs or alone.  They are widespread across much of Australia.

Petrogale spp. 'Rock-wallabies'

(Yardie Creek, Cape Range National Park, WA)

Rock Wallabies are adapted to living within a rocky habitat.

(Enderby Island, Dampier Archipelago, Pilbara, WA)

They are capable of long and fast leaps within their steep habitats 

(Yardie Creek, Cape Range National Park, WA)

Petrogale lateralis, 'Black-flanked Rock Wallaby'. Striking black markings along muzzle, under arms and on top of feet. A black stripe runs down along back. Found in rocky habitats across arid parts of western and central Australia. There are many isolated populations within this range. Some of the populations vary in chromosomal counts from each other, and could be considered ongoing speciation in action. Most easily seen on the walk up Yardie Creek canyon (south of Exmouth), where some individuals are quite used to humans.

(Enderby Island, Dampier Archipelago, Pilbara, WA)

Petrogale rothschildi, 'Rothschild's Rock Wallaby'. Has a purple sheen on shoulders and back of head. Found in rocky habitats in Pilbara region, including islands.

rock-wallaby-yellow-footed-(Flinders Ranges, South Australia)

Petrogale xanthopus, 'Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby'. It has been suggested that this is the most colourful native mammal in Australia: grey-brown back, dark shoulder and tail tip, white thigh and flank stripes, orange on ears, arms and legs. Found in remote rocky areas in some parts of NSW and Queensland, but best known from South Australia, especially Flinders Ranges. The small population in NSW was only discovered in the 1960's. The largest population of this species is found in western Queensland. I have not seen this population, but they are found around Hell Hole, a remote national park with no facilities and only accessible via 4WD . Even though these Yellow-footed Rock-wallabies look the same as the NSW/SA population, they are considered a subspecies, and indeed there is a larger genetic difference between these two subspecies than between some other rock wallaby species. This animal was once considered common in Flinders Ranges, but the beautiful coat led to the animal being hunted for it's pelt, and thus it's numbers were drastically reduced. 

Order Artiodactyla

Family Camelidae

Camels are the only hoofed mammals to mate in the sitting position. Lazy buggers. The males ejaculate three or four times during the mating session. Ok, not so lazy then.


Camelus dromedarius'Dromedary (one-humped) Camel'. Largest of the three extant camel species. As the name suggests, they have one hump on the back. When in heat, the males inflate part of their palate into a large red balloon (called the dulla), which hangs out of the side of their mouth like a swollen tongue. Apparently, the females are attracted to the male with their tongue hanging out (this doesn't work for humans). Also, it is not true that females attract the males with their camel toe. This is a domesticated species, and it is thought they have not existed in the wild in their native habitat for thousands of years. They are originally from the drier areas of northern Africa. They were introduced into Australia and it is thought there are over half a million feral individuals wandering around western Queensland, northern SA/southern NT, and mostly Western Australia.

(Cape range national park, WA)

Canis lupus, 'Dog', 'Dingo'. Dingoes are a a type of dog, and they inter-breed freely. The wild dog was introduced to Australia some 5000-6000 years ago. They no doubt had a far larger effect than we can ever know. Dogs still continue to be a major problem today, killing wallabies.

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