|Western Grey Kangaroo - Macropus fuliginosus|
The Western Grey Kangaroo is found along southern and western parts of Australia. There are two distinct variants, one in Western Australia and one in South Australia and parts of the eastern mainland states. The western variant is slender and greyish-brown in colour; the other version is stockier and more brown in colour with bluish-grey underparts. Both variants have dark brown to black paws, feet and tail tip, buff patches on legs and forearms, finely-haired muzzle and large ears fringed with white hairs. Males are much larger than females.
Distributed across southern Western Australia and South Australia extending into western New South Wales, north-west Victoria and south-west Queensland. Distribution in the three eastern states overlaps the Eastern Grey Kangaroo. In south-west Queensland, where both species occur, the Western Grey is protected but the Eastern Grey is subject to controlled harvesting. Both species have black or dark brown paws, feet and tail tip.
The Queensland Environmental Protection Authority has prepared notes to assist kangaroo shooters in correctly identifying both species in good light and from fairly close. These notes observe that the Western Grey in Queensland has a broader, dark brown face and that the throat, ear edges and other light coloured parts contrast strongly with the rest of the pelt; while the Eastern Grey has a pale, almost white face and the overall colour is lighter and more even. Additionally, the Western Grey has white patches on the upper thighs which can be seen from behind the animal; the Eastern Grey does not have these markings. Western Greys can be distinguished by chocolate-brown fur and white lined ears while the Eastern Grey has pale grey fur.
|Western Grey Kangaroo - page 2|
Widely distributed in dry open forests, woodlands, open scrub, wet and dry heaths and grasslands. Diet is vegetarian; feeds on native grasses, herbs, leaves, tree bark and shrubs; prefers leaves and tree bark to eating grass. Western Greys rest by day in the shelter of trees and shrubs, feeding from late afternoon to early morning. Mobs of 40-50 individuals have a home range up to 8 square kilometres. Males have a strong odour (hence one common name of "Stinkey") and establish hierarchies by fighting and displays such as tree gouging. Females usually congregate with female relatives, forming their own hierarchies. Older males are usually solitary.
Lives to 20 years in the wild; females are sexually mature at 16 months, males at 20 months. Breeding takes place all year with a peak of births from September to March. Gestation period is 30 days, then the embryo climb to the pouch and remains there attached to one of four teats until 46 weeks of age. After leaving the pouch it continues to suckle until it is 17 months old. Females mate 2-10 days after the pouch is vacated.
¶ Cronin's Key Guide - Australian Mammals, by Leonard Cronin, published by Jacana Books, 2008, pg 102.
¶ Field Guide to Australian Mammals by Cath Jones and Steve Parrish, Steve Parrish publishing, undated. pg144.
¶ Queensland Environmental Protection Authority at http://www.epa.qld.gov.au