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Join us for the Power of Parks forum at Burnie

17/06/2016

Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) in partnership with the University of Tasmania is exploring The Power of Parks through a series of UTAS public forums celebrating the benefits that parks and reserves provide to Tasmania's overall identify.More

Three Capes Track special offer

16/06/2016

The centenary of national parks in Tasmania is being celebrated with a special offer to walk the Three Capes Track for only $250 per person.More

Bruny Island tourism improvements

14/06/2016

Two of Bruny Island's major tourism drawcards, The Neck and the South Bruny Lighthouse site, are being upgraded by the Parks and Wildlife Service.

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Tasmanian Pademelon, Thylogale billardierii

Description

Photo by Peter Grant

The pademelon is a stocky animal with a relatively short tail and legs to aid its movement through dense vegetation. It ranges in colour from dark-brown to grey-brown above and has a red-brown belly. Males, which are considerably larger than females, have a muscular chest and forearms, and reach up to 12 kg in weight and 1 - 1.2 m in overall length, including the tail. Females average 3.9 kg in weight.

The unusual common name, pademelon, is of Aboriginal derivation. It is also sometimes referred to as the rufous wallaby.

Distibution and habitat

Pademelons are solitary and nocturnal, spending the hours of daylight in thick vegetation. Rainforest and wet forest is the preferred habitat, although wet gullies in dry open eucalypt forest are also used. Such habitat next to cleared areas where feeding can occur is especially favoured. After dusk, the animals move onto such open areas to feed, but rarely stray more than 100 metres from the security of the forest edge.

The species is abundant and widespread throughout the state of Tasmania. It is commonly seen around many of the state's national parks.

Diet

The diet of the pademelon consists of herbs and green shoots, with short green grasses being preferred. Mosses are occasionally eaten. Pademelons were undoubtedly important in the thylacine (Tasmanian tiger) diet and are now important in the diet of Tasmanian devils, spotted-tailed quolls and wedge-tailed eagles.

Breeding

Although there is no specific breeding season, 70% of pademelon births occur around the beginning of winter. Gestation is 30 days. Pouch life is 6.5 months. The young are weaned at 7 - 8 months and are sexually mature at 14 - 15 months. Longevity in the wild may be 5 - 6 years.

Status

This species is extinct on mainland Australia because of predation by foxes and large scale land clearance, although two other species of pademelon occur along the east coast of the mainland. In Tasmania, however, the pademelon is both widespread and abundant. Although partially protected, hunting is permitted outside parks and reserves; its pelt is commercially valuable and the meat is quite palatable.