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Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby

Petrogale penicillata


The brush-tailed rock wallaby, aka small-eared rock wallaby, is one of several rock wallaby species in the genus Petrogale, and the family Macropodidae. It's only a small animal - body length 55 cm, tail length 60 cm, weight up to 8 kg, but is also very attractive with beautiful markings and rich, reddish-brown fur. It's also quite a thick-set animal, and despite it's size and obvious agility, looks very sturdy. I don't think the wallaby in this spotting was aware of my presence. I stayed quiet and perfectly still until he/she hopped off. They are naturally shy and tend to keep a healthy distance from people. That's a wise move!


Inhabits rocky slopes, cliffs and gorges along the Great Dividing Range, from about 100 km north-west of Brisbane to northern Victoria, in vegetation ranging from rainforest to dry sclerophyll forests. This spotting was in Crows Nest National Park, in dense native bushland. Very rocky terrain which this species prefers (last photo). Crows Nest is probably the northern extent of its range.


The IUCN Red List of Vulnerable Species lists Petrogale penicillata as vulnerable (VU). The species is severely threatened by habitat loss, predation by foxes and feral cats, and competition from goats, sheep and rabbits. Populations have declined seriously in the south and west of its range, but it remains locally common in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland. It's not known if the small groups of rock wallabies living among the cliffs and gorges of Crows Nest Creek are one continuous population or several small, distinct and unrelated ones, but it is known they are constrained by their attachment to rocky refuges. Using trapping, tracking and genetic studies, University of Queensland researchers are hoping to determine relatedness within Crows Nest's rock wallaby populations and find out what makes good or bad rock wallaby habitat. Research and ongoing monitoring will aid management of brush-tailed rock wallaby populations patchily distributed in isolated cliffs and rocky outcrops from southeast Queensland to Victoria.

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Neil Ross
Neil Ross a year ago

Thanks, Maria. I enjoyed learning about this animal, and I started from scratch because I really knew nothing about them. First encounters are always interesting.

Maria dB
Maria dB a year ago

Interesting spotting!

Neil Ross
Neil Ross a year ago

Oh wow, thanks, Ashley. That's a happy start to my weekend :)

AshleyT a year ago

Your spotting has been nominated for the Spotting of the Week. The winner will be chosen by the Project Noah Rangers based on a combination of factors including: uniqueness of the shot, status of the organism (for example, rare or endangered), quality of the information provided in the habitat and description sections. There is a subjective element, of course; the spotting with the highest number of Ranger votes is chosen. Congratulations on being nominated!

Neil Ross
Neil Ross a year ago

They are the rock masters, and perfectly adapted to this terrain. The amazing, thick padding on their feet certainly helps.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway a year ago

Love that last habitat shot.
I imagine him reaching that furthest rock in a few seconds.

Jim Nelson
Jim Nelson a year ago

Well done, Neil!

Neil Ross
Neil Ross a year ago

Thanks, Mark. And yes, I agree. The fourth shot it is.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway a year ago

Beautiful. Fourth shot for my liking.

Neil Ross
Spotted by
Neil Ross

Toowoomba, QLD, Australia

Lat: -27.26, Long: 152.11

Spotted on Jul 26, 2018
Submitted on Jul 27, 2018

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