Bridled Nailtail Wallaby (Onychogalea fraenata)

Endagered Species Classification

Extinct in the Wild
Critically Endangered
Conservation Dependent

At the time of European settlement the Bridled Nailtail Wallaby was a common species throughout much of Eastern Australia. The Bridled Nail-Tail Wallaby now survives in only five percent of the area it once inhabited. It is estimated that only 300 Bridled Nailtail Wallabies remain in the wild.

Threat to the survival of this species are a combination of predation by foxes, feral cats and wild dogs; habitat loss and modification (land clearing, fire and exotic weeds); and competition with introduced stock (mainly sheep) and rabbits.

The Bridled Nailtail Wallaby has been re-introduced to Idalia National Park and  Avocet Nature Refuge in QLD, and Scotia Sanctuary in western NSW. FAME was instrumental in the establishment of the colony at Scotia Sanctuary, which now has a very successful captive breeding program. Several other sites are also involved in captive breeding of the wallaby.

Whats in a name?
The Bridled Nailtail Wallaby's ability to flee at high speed is how they earned their name "flashjack". Yet the main defence strategy of the bridled nailtail wallaby is to hide rather than flee, which is uncommon in macropods (family of that include kangaroos and wallabies). This combined with their preference for relatively open habitat makes the Bridled Nailtail Wallaby a relatively easy meal for feral cats and dogs.

Appearance: It is light tan in colour with a distinct white line forming a “bridle” from the back of the neck to behind the forelimbs. Its other distinctive markings are the white stripes along the sides of the face, and a black stripe down the length of the back. It has a small, horny spur at the end of the tail, the function of which is unknown.

Size: The Bridled Nailtail Wallaby is a relatively small wallaby, weighing an average of 5-6kg and females 4-5kg.

Habitat: The Bridled Nailtail Wallaby lives in semi-arid areas where dense acacia shrubland and grassy woodland meet.  During the day the Bridled Nail-Tail Wallaby shelters under bushes where it may scratch a shallow depression.

How the Bridled Nailtail Wallaby was ‘re-discovered’ - For over 30 years this wallaby was believed to be extinct.  Then in 1973, a fencing contractor, after reading an article about Australia's extinct species in a magazine, reported that there was a population of Bridled Nailtail Wallabies on a property in central Queensland near the town of Dingo.

Diet: An hour before dusk it emerge to graze for food. Except in drier months, the Bridled Nailtail Wallaby rarely ventures more than 200m away from the edge of the scrub. Its diet is diverse, including herbaceous species, grasses and shrubs.

Click here to download a factsheet about the Bridled Nailtail Wallaby (Onychogalea fraenata)

Last updated May 2015