Bigfoot dwells in Australia, but we call it macropod.  The term macropod is derived from the Greek words makros (meaning large) and poús or pod (meaning foot).

Macropods cover a group of marsupials that have large hind feet and which move by bounding.  They cannot move their legs independently and often propel themselves forward with the help of their tails.  They also raise their babies in pouches.  There are several species of macropod including kangaroos, wallabies, tree-kangaroos, pademelons, bettongs and potoroos, among others.  Today I thought I would share some photos of two species of macropod, the Swamp Wallaby and the Long-Nosed Potoroo, found at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, just outside of Canberra (Australia).

The swamp wallaby is a medium sized macropod.  Mature males weigh in at about 20kg and females 15kg.  It is relatively abundant and adaptable.  It lives in a wide range of forested habitats, with its range stretching from far north Queensland through to the southern most points of Victoria.  It prefers to hang out in areas where there is a dense understorey of plants.  It is sometimes called the Black Panther because it may be mistaken for a panther as it bounds along.  When moving at speed, it sticks out its long black tail horizontally, while keeping its head low to the ground.  I think you would have to be pretty lucky to spot that tail because they blend in so well with their environment.

swamp wallabyswamp wallaby againswamp wallaby 3Swamp Wallaby 2

The second macropod in this post is the long-nosed potoroo.  It is one of our smallest macropods and just adorable.  But they have a problem.  Their nickname is kangaroo-rat.  Talk about how to win friends and influence people!  I think their nickname needs a makeover because the current one doesn’t endear them to people.  It is no wonder they are listed as vulnerable.  After you’ve seen their photos, perhaps you can help come up with another nickname.

Potoroos are not indigenous to the Canberra region, but are being bred in captivity (in large multi-hectare enclosures) at Tidbinbilla.  Here, they are safe from predation from foxes and feral cats.  Potoroos need and deserve protection.  Habitat protection is critical.  Potoroos live in wet forests and scrubland which have a dense understorey.  The understorey is vital for providing protection from predators.  Potoroos have a symbiotic connection to eucalpyt forests because they rely on fungi associated with these trees and vice-versa.  They don’t do well in areas where there are frequent wildfires.  You would think that living in wet forest would reduce the risk of fires.  However, wetland forests are drying out due to climate change.

The potoroo could so easily become critically endangered.  I have a very personal example of how taking their presence for granted could hasten their departure from the landscape.  Those of you who have been following my blog for a while will know that my mother lives on a rural property in central Queensland.  When she first moved there, there were heaps of potoroos, but over the years they’ve almost completely disappeared.  I think that is because many more people have moved into the area and have set up hobby farms.  New residents clear the land, and bring their dogs and cats with them.  They often know little of the potential impact of their activities on the wildlife that drew them there in the first place.  Kangaroo rats are not rodents.  Nor are they feral pests.  They are wonderful and unique Aussie animals.  Here’s an idea.  Let’s educate current and prospective landholders about the animals on their properties and what they can do to ensure local wildlife thrive (mum, please share this with the local council).  Anyway, dear Readers, you’ve waited long enough.  Time for some photos.

LNPpotoroosleepy potoroopotoroo close up

We would do anything for our dogs, right?  Love me, love my dog.  I think I’ll get a T-Shirt made that says, “Love me, love my potoroo.”  Who could argue with that?

So have you thought of any alternate nicknames?  The tooter-roo?  The cutie-tooter?  The podlet?  The impossibly cute teeny bigfoot?

Kind Regards
Tracy

Response the Ragtag Daily PromptPod.  Click on the link to join in.
For further information on the swamp wallaby, see here, and on the long-nosed potoroo, see here and here.

46 thoughts on “Aussie Bigfoot – Macropods

  1. We have both wallabies and potaroos wild in the Huon Valley. I think they are cute but a friend who I used to house sit for was less enthusiastic and warned me to make sure that all her plant enclosures were secure after I watered them so the potaroos could not get in. She certainly had a lot visit her property and they were happy to stay in plain sight although they hopped away if I approached them.

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    1. But I do sympathise with your friend, Vanda. I’ve put a lot of sticks and other garden debris under my plants to stop the dogs digging them up. This has attracted a lot of skinks to the garden. So then I’ve had to fence the plants off, but the skinks don’t confine themselves to those areas. The dogs have killed three recently. I despair.

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      1. It’s very hard sometimes if you love pets but also enjoy wildlife in your garden. My current cat Polly is an inside cat. If she goes into the garden it is only with me under supervision. I always tried to keep her predecessors indoors at night but she is the first fully indoor one. That way I can still enjoy the birds and as a bonus don’t have to worry about her getting into fights or getting run over.

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      2. I think it will be the law everywhere one day but in the meantime it’s better for the environment and better for the cat. She doesn’t miss roaming as she’s never done it and she’s lazy anyway, won’t even climb a tree. 🙂

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      1. Other than the roos and wallabies, the only other common macropod is the larger Quokka of which there are two types in WA (and not just on Rottnest Island either), except in 1994 A small colony of Gilbert’s Potoroo was found near Esperance (originally thought to be extinct) so we do have Potoroos too.

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    1. Marsupials are found in North and South America. The most common is the Virginia opossum. The Virginia opossum is found as far north as parts of Canada. The latest theory is that the opossum is an ancient ancestor of Australian marsupials.

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