Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby (Petrogale penicillata)

Endagered Species Classification

Extinct in the Wild
Critically Endangered
Conservation Dependent

Once widespread in areas of eastern Australia, this rock-wallaby is now only found in fragmented populations in southern Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

Hunting was major contributor to the early decline in numbers of the rock wallaby. Between 1884 and 1914 bounties were paid on over half a million rock-wallabies in New South Wales. Current threats to survival include predation by foxes, cats and wild dogs, and competition for food and shelter by goats and rabbits.  Habitat degradation, fragmentation and loss, changes in fire regimes, small population size, bioclimatic factors and diseases passed from feral cats also pose threats to the survival of wild populations of Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies.

Recovery actions include maintaining a captive breeding programme, monitoring existing populations, maintaining predator control, carrying out research, and providing community education. FAME is working closely with Mt Rothwell Sanctuary as a key pillar in the Victorian recovery program.

Appearance: Upper body fur is generally brown, with a rufous (reddish brown) patch surrounding the hind-quarters. The face has a pale cheek-stripe. Ears are black outside and yellowish on the inside and the tail is long, 500-600 mm, and characteristically brushy at the end.

Size: 60-65cm tall and adults weighing 6-8kg.

Habitat: Found in a wide variety of habitats including rainforest, wet and dry sclerophyll forest, open woodland and semi-arid country, where there is suitably rocky terrain with caves or rock crevices and overhangs for shelter. Slopes with a northerly aspect, where the wallabies can bask in the sun, are preferred.

Diet: These herbivores are active and forage for food in the evening and early morning. Their diet consists of grasses, herbs, shrubs as well as flowers and some fruits. They have been found to forage over a home range of estimated between 6-30ha.

Did you know?
The Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby was successfully introduced to Hawaii and New Zealand. On some of the New Zealand Islands it has reached pest proportions and is regularly culled. Efforts by several Australian conservation organisations, including FAME, resulted in the rescue and return of some 30 animals from New Zealand’s Kawau Island. These were successfully established at several sites in New South Wales and Victoria, including Mt Rothwell.


Click here to download a factsheet about the Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby (Petrogale penicillata)

Last updated May 2015