Learn more

What are Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies?

Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies are shy, elusive animals that live on rocky escarpments, using their long brushy tail and ridged feet to skilfully navigate the steep terrain. Once abundant throughout Eastern Australia, they are now endangered – living in small, isolated populations.

Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies are highly vulnerable to predation from foxes, disease and inbreeding. In small colonies, the few young who are born each year are so easily lost to predation or even misadventure. In the colonies where they are successfully recruited into adults, the numbers are not enough to replace aged adults and grow the colony. This is where small colonies can become stuck in an ‘extinction vortex’.

Why are Rock-wallabies so special?

Rock wallaby diagram with numbers 1 - 8 labelled

Why are Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies so rare?

Introduced Species

Foxes, cats and dogs snatch young rock-wallabies. These introduced species also pass on disease such as toxoplasmosis and compete for food and habitat.

Poor Habitat

Human encroachment of their habitat has left populations fragmented as humans bring domestic pets and attract foxes. This leaves colonies isolated in a fraction of their original range.


In the 1800s and 1900s, half a million Rock-wallabies were hunted for their fur. This significantly reduced their numbers, leaving them more vulnerable to other threats.

Local Catastrophes

Isolated Rock-wallaby colonies are at the mercy of local catastrophes such as bushfires, drought and disease. Inbreeding further reduces their resilience to such environmental changes.

Want to find out more?

Small, fragmented populations of Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies lie in rocky terrain along the east coast of Australia. There are three sub-groups: the Southern form in Victoria with an estimated 20-50 individuals, the Central form in south-eastern NSW with over 500, and the Northern ESU with less than 10,000 Rock-wallabies. 

Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies live amongst complex rocky escarpment, boulder piles and rocky outcrops as they can navigate their ledges and hidey holes with more agility than their predators. They love north-facing escarpments, gorges and boulder piles, basking on sunny ledges in winter and cool caves in summer. 

Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies feed on a variety of plants, including grasses, orchids, bark, fruits, flowers and ferns. As they are tied to their rocky habitat for protection, they have quite a generalist diet. They forage in a range of 5-25ha, depending on habitat type and richness, predation pressures and competition for food.

Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies are most active at dawn and dusk, retreating to rock crevices during the day. Female young take up nearby territory to their mothers, while young males will either disperse or hang around for a chance to become the dominant male. 

Rock-wallabies need your help