Macropus antilopinusantilopine wallaroo

Geographic Range

Antilopine wallaroos inhabit savanna woodlands throughout the northern, tropical regions of Australia, from the Kimberley to the Gulf of Carpentaria. They are also found in the Cape York Peninsula. ("The Kangaroo trail", 2007; Croft, 1982; Croft, 1987; Davey, 2005; Hirst, 2006; Ritchie, et al., 2008)


Antilopine wallaroos inhabit the savanna woodlands of Australia. During the day they reside in shaded wooded areas to avoid the hot sun. At dusk they graze in grasslands and at dawn return to wooded areas. During the cooler wet season, antilopine wallaroos may also graze during the day, but they seek shelter from rain in wooded areas. Eastern populations may be found on slopes and tops of small hills. They may also be found in valleys and low-lying depressions on the floodplains of major rivers, especially in moist areas populated with short green grass. Northern populations favor sites with permanent water where fires occur late in the season. ("The Kangaroo trail", 2007; Croft, 1982; Croft, 1987; Davey, 2005; Hirst, 2006; Ritchie, et al., 2008)

Physical Description

Male and female antilopine wallaroos are very sexually dimorphic. Adult males are usually a reddish tan color. Females, however, are brownish tan in the back and hind parts and usually have gray heads and shoulders. Females also have white tips on the back of their ears. Paws and feet of both sexes are white on the ventral side and are black tipped. Adult males have a distinct swelling of the nose above the nostrils that is possibly used for cooling. Males are also much larger than the females, reaching up to 70 kg. A female of this species ranges from 15 kg to 30 kg. Females develop their pouches after about 20 months. In joeys, the fur coloration is apparent after 6 to 7 months. The shape of a female joey’s head is more petite than the male joey’s. ("The Kangaroo trail", 2007; Davey, 2005; Hirst, 2006)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • male larger
  • sexes colored or patterned differently
  • male more colorful
  • ornamentation
  • Range mass
    15 to 70 kg
    33.04 to 154.19 lb
  • Range length
    1.5 to 1.9 m
    4.92 to 6.23 ft


An increased amount of fighting by male antilopine wallaroos has been observed near the beginning of the breeding season. To attract a mate, a male sniffs the female’s cloacal region, then shows his ventral surface and erect penis. ("The Kangaroo trail", 2007; Croft, 1987)

Male antilopine wallaroos reach sexual maturity at 2 years of age, whereas females reach sexual maturity at 16 months and develop their pouch after 20 months. Females come into estrous within a few days of each other. Although estrous of females does not seem to be related to the age of their young (joeys), estrous always occurs after the permanent emergence of the joey. Gestation lasts about 35 days. ("The Kangaroo trail", 2007; Croft, 1982; Davey, 2005; Hirst, 2006)

Only one offspring is produced per breeding season. After birth the neonate climbs into the mother's pouch, much like all macropods. After about 20 weeks, the joey begins to emerge from the pouch. At about 6 months the joey completely comes out of the pouch for the first time, and at about 37 weeks the mother does not allow the joey back in the pouch. A joey is gradually weaned, feeding less and less from its mother until about 15 months after birth. ("The Kangaroo trail", 2007; Croft, 1982; Davey, 2005; Hirst, 2006)

  • Breeding interval
    Antilopine wallaroos breed once yearly with births during the wet season.
  • Breeding season
    Mating of antilopine wallaroos occurs at the beginning of the wet season, usually around December.
  • Average number of offspring
  • Range gestation period
    34.1 to 35.9 days
  • Average weaning age
    15 months
  • Average time to independence
    15 months
  • Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    16 to 20 months
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    16 months
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    2 years

Male antilopine wallaroos lose interest in their mate and young once the neonate reaches its mother's pouch. Once all neonates reach their mother's pouch, the group sexually segregates; large males form small groups while females and young remain together in large groups. Even after weaning, young antilopine wallaroos maintain a close relationship with their mother, resting together and grooming each other. (Croft, 1982; Hirst, 2006)

  • Parental Investment
  • female parental care
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-weaning/fledging
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • post-independence association with parents


Little information is available regarding the average lifespan of antilopine wallaroos. The longest lived antilopine wallaroo in the wild was 16 years of age, while the longest lived antilopine wallaroo in captivity was 15.9 years of age. (Max, et al., 2002)

  • Range lifespan
    Status: wild
    16 (high) years
  • Range lifespan
    Status: captivity
    15.9 (high) years


Antilopine wallaroos are very social animals. Older males, however, are often solitary. Groups (mobs) of males and females are often seen together. Both male and female antilopine wallaroos groom each other, called allogrooming. After joeys reach their mother's pouch, the mob sexually segregates; the males separate in to a small group, or "bachelor groups". In turn, females form large groups of other females and young. Antilopine wallaroos move to and from grazing grounds and return to the same area or "camp" repeatedly, both in groups and individually. Males also fight frequently. ("The Kangaroo trail", 2007; Croft, 1982; Croft, 1987; Davey, 2005; Hirst, 2006; Ritchie, et al., 2008; "The Kangaroo trail", 2007; Croft, 1982; Croft, 1987; Davey, 2005; Hirst, 2006; Ritchie, et al., 2008; "The Kangaroo trail", 2007; Croft, 1982; Croft, 1987; Davey, 2005; Hirst, 2006; Ritchie, et al., 2008)

  • Range territory size
    1 (high) km^2
  • Average territory size
    0.2 km^2

Home Range

The home range of male antilopine wallaroos can be 100 ha or greater. Home ranges of females are less than 20 ha. ("The Kangaroo trail", 2007; "The Kangaroo trail", 2007; "The Kangaroo trail", 2007)

Communication and Perception

Before fighting, males make an audible hiss as an alarm. This is usually followed by a foot thump. Males also perform a “head tossing” motion before fighting. (Croft, 1987)

Food Habits

Antilopine wallaroos are herbivorous, and their diet is mainly composed of grass. They seek areas with short grass, like low tussock grass, or where tall grass has been burnt and reduced to shoots. ("The Kangaroo trail", 2007; Croft, 1982; Hirst, 2006; Ritchie, et al., 2008)

  • Plant Foods
  • leaves


There are no known predators of antilopine wallaroos other than humans. (Croft, 1982)

Ecosystem Roles

Antilopine wallaroos consume a variety of grasses and act as hosts for mites, nematodes, fleas, and ticks. (Hirst, 2006; Hirst, 2006)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Antilopine wallaroos are hunted by the Aboriginal people of Australia. (Croft, 1982)

  • Positive Impacts
  • food

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Because both species graze in grasslands, Antilopine wallaroos may compete with cattle. (Davey, 2005; Davey, 2005)

Conservation Status

Although populations of antilopine wallarooos are decreasing, the species is classified of least concern by the IUCN. This species has likely benefited from human conversion of land to agricultural and grassland areas. ("The IUNC Red List of Threatened Species", 2008; Davey, 2005)

Other Comments

Antilopine wallaroos are sometimes referred to as a kangaroo or antilopine kangaroos. (Hirst, 2006)


Kurt Bonser (author), Northern Michigan University, John Bruggink (editor), Northern Michigan University, Gail McCormick (editor), Animal Diversity Web Staff.



Living in Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, New Guinea and associated islands.

World Map


uses sound to communicate

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


active at dawn and dusk


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.

female parental care

parental care is carried out by females


union of egg and spermatozoan


an animal that mainly eats leaves.


A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.

island endemic

animals that live only on an island or set of islands.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.


specialized for leaping or bounding locomotion; jumps or hops.

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season


remains in the same area


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female

sexual ornamentation

one of the sexes (usually males) has special physical structures used in courting the other sex or fighting the same sex. For example: antlers, elongated tails, special spurs.


associates with others of its species; forms social groups.


uses touch to communicate


Living on the ground.


the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.


A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.


uses sight to communicate


reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.


2008. "The IUNC Red List of Threatened Species" (On-line). Accessed April 26, 2009 at

2007. "The Kangaroo trail" (On-line). Accessed March 04, 2009 at

Croft, D. 1987. Socio-Ecology of the Antilopine Wallaroo, Macropus-Antilopinus, in the Northern-Territory, With Observations on Sympatric Macropus-Robustus-Woodwardii and Macropus-Agilis. Australian Wildlife Research, 14: 243-255.

Croft, D. 1982. Some observations on the behaviour of the antelopine wallaroo Macropus antilopinus (Marsupialia: Macropodidea). Journal of the Australian Mammal Society Inc., 5: 5-13.

Davey, K. 2005. "Antilopine Wallaroo" (On-line). Accessed April 09, 303 at

Hirst, S. 2006. "National Wildlife Rehabilitation Conference 2006" (On-line). The Antilopine Wallaroo: an unusual ‘roo. Accessed March 04, 2009 at

Max, , Planck, Gesellschaft. 2002. "Longevity Records Life Spans of Mammals, Birds, Amphibians, Reptiles, and Fish" (On-line). Mammals. Accessed March 10, 2009 at

Ritchie, E., J. Martin, A. Krockenberger, S. Garnett, C. Johnson. 2008. Large-herbivore distribution and abundance: intra- and interspecific niche variation in the tropics.. Ecological Monographs, 78.1: 105-122.