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Irene Espiritu's Wallaby Report
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Wallabies by Irene Espiritu.


The topic in which this research report will take notice on shall be on the species of Wallabies. As you may know, Wallabies are known by their adorable features, but there is more to them than just their cute innocent looks. In this report, I shall state the information that lies behind their given name, their habitats, their physical description, the stories behind their adaptations, the survival status for Wallabies, a few studies that scientists have done and a personal special story behind the wonderful species of Wallabies. Together we will go behind the legends and so called 'true stories' that people have made up of these incredible creatures and view the world from their point of you, as their habitat is being taken away from human beings. Not only will you learn about their looks and their gifted abilities that natural selection has given them, but you will also learn of my background story with Wallabies. Hold on tight, because not only will you learn from this paper, but hopefully you will even adapt to a love towards Wallabies like I did.


Wallabies are a species that have evolved from Kangaroos. The Wallabies are also known from their scientific name/category known as Marsupials or Macropods (Drake 2011 1). This species' home from which they have originated is the land down under, otherwise known as Australia, the home of the wild (Stevenson 2011 1). What is also surprising about their home, is that Australia is known for being the country with the most abundant amount of endangered species (Morgan 2010 1). The Wallabies classification is very dynamic. Their kingdom is Animalia, the phylum is Chordata , the class is Mammalia, infraclass is Marsupialia, their order is Diprotodontia, genus is Macropus, their species is obviously Macropus agilus, the suborder is Macropodiformes and their family is Macropodidae (Anonymous 2011 a 143). Wallabies are sometimes called Macropods simply because they have big feet. Think it is a bit absurd? Absolutely not! The reason they are called Macropods is because with the Greek translation, it means big footed. With this in mind, it truly captures the story behind it all, simply because of their strong and powerful legs, they definitely deserve the given name "Macropods" (Ramsey 2011 10). In Australia, they use their slang language to identify most Wallabies. For example, "boomers" are what the Australians call the male version of a Wallaby. The female version of a Wallaby are known as "flyers," pretty cute, eh? (Sharp 2011 1).

Now, even though these cute little marsupials are an icon in cartoons, their habitat is a whole different story in Australia. Wallabies are found in the land down under, otherwise known as Australia, where they are known for their exotic species that are extremely limited (Morgan 2010 1). These marsupials enjoy being surrounded by nature. With that reason being, that is why they prefer areas in Australia that have immense and a plethora of wood, cliffs and granite bedrocks (Vyn 2011 1). In the picture shown off to the side, it is very clear that Wallabies prefer to live near boulders where not only is it a beautiful view, but it provides them with shelter and protection (Anonymous 2011 5). As studies have shown, Wallabies have a such powerful legs that it pretty much just takes a little common sense to understand that big feet, plus big open areas to jump around in, equals a very happy Wallaby (Anonymous 2011 a 7). The only sad part is that living on a continent like Australia limits the genetic variation and increases the chances of a species becoming completely extinction, and as for the Wallabies...well they are almost there (Morgan 2010 1). The Wallabies also have a preference for open air areas (Anonymous 2011 a 7).

Wallabies are known for their incredible speed, but the question is how much do people really know about them and their physical description? Well, the Wallabies' height is about 36 inches (Lindell 2011 1), or they can also range from 12 to 41 inches depending on the act of natural selection and the act it plays upon their characteristics and development (Sharp 2011 2). Wallabies have a shape that is similar to kangaroos except they are much smaller. The weight of a Wallaby usually ranges from 25 to 60 pounds (Stevenson 2011 2). A pretty neat feature is that Wallabies have pouches where they open to protect their babies until they are fully developed (Anonymous 2011 3).  Wallabies also have very useful tails that come in handy when they need to balance themselves while they are hopping 12 feet per hop and even when they are running at a speed of 35 mph, because at that rate, no one would want to trip and fall, now would they? (Sharp 2011 3). The species of Wallabies are incredibly iconic and the reason being is because of their feet. Yes, their feet. Wallabies have four feet, which have different potentials that help them immensely. For example, their back feet are flat and larger than the front feet, the reason is to make jumping more simple and functional for the Wallabies. The front feet are much smaller than the back feet and serve a different purpose (Lindell 2011 7). The front feet are also weak and are used to trick predators or objects. The Wallabies' feet are so impressive that they can hop at a distance of 12 feet! The distance of speed in which they can run is at approximately 35 miles per hour (Stevenson 2011 5).

Wallabies also tend to have certain adaptations that can increase their survival rate such as behavioral, structural and physiological adaptations. When it comes to behavioral adaptations, Wallabies eat plants because afterall, they are herbivores. Their flat teeth is what lets them eat vegetation foods (Anonymous 2011 a 9). Wallabies move fast and smooth because of their ability to hop at a distance of 12 feet (Stevenson 2011 5). When it comes to the reproduction of Wallabies, it usually takes 28 days for a baby to be born. Once the baby wallaby is born, they are obviously very weak and need protection from the outside world, so they stay in their mommy's pouch where they stay for at least 2 months. The time when reproduction usually happens is usually around January and February (Anonymous 2011 a 11). Now when it comes to structural adaptation, Wallabies defend themselves by trying to out run their predators with their fierce fast paced feet and hopping, but when a predator gets too close the cute little marsupial turns into a little monster as it kicks the predator with their powerful legs (Stevenson 2011 8). Wallabies also prefer to hunt at night when it is more difficult for their predators to see them (Stevenson 2011 4). Now, ever since the Australian government placed Wallabies under their protection, they have had an immunity from hunters (Deto 2010 2). Because Wallabies are herbivores and feed at night, they usually hibernate during the daytime (Sharp 2011 5). Wallabies are known for having a unique digestive system because of the fact that they have two stomachs. This gives them the ability to store food, bring it back up, chew it again and then swallow it once more for it to finally digest. Freaky, huh (Lindell 2011 3)?

If scientists are looking for a future for Wallabies, they must also look for a way to adapt to one of their biggest predators, the carnivorous fox (Deto 2011 4). What some people refuse to acknowledge is that the endangerment of the Wallabies is also the fault of human beings as well. The reason being is because of the fact that people cut down trees for their own needs which decreases the amount of the Wallabies' homes in their natural habitat. A place where they struggle to thrive for their protection and coverage of nearby predators and the fear of becoming isolated and minimizing their habitats even more in Australia. The needs of human beings can also subconsciously eliminate the home of another innocent living creature, but yet human beings are still complaining about the fact that global warming and deforestation is what is limiting their potential habitat, yet no one ever strives to make a change (Sharp 2011 7).

In recent studies that scientists have put on trial have either won over or have influenced other scientists with ideas of other theories on the lives of Wallabies. In one study, they have tried to go back in time and figure out the role natural selection played once isolation took control upon the Wallabies. In fact they isolated ten clone Wallabies and observed them for some type of change in their genes. In fact, they found a change in three male Wallabies that gave scientists an idea of who and what they descended from and found their common ancestor that they have degraded from (Murtagh 2012 2). Meanwhile, another scientist was running another study on Wallabies, except this time, it was to calculate the power of the Wallabies legs and feet. In this study they calculated every move the Wallaby made, they even calculated their speed and the amount of power and force on their hit. It was a study professionally thought out (McGowan 2005 1). In fact, they even figured out that Wallabies don't just go in for the attack, instead, they approach their competitor with normal speed and then shifts to a 45 degree angle and speeds in for the attack, making their competition wish they did not even think of starting a fight with the marsupial (McGowan 2005 2). In another study that was done by a completely different scientist, they also studied the legs of a Wallaby, but decided to take it one step further. In fact, they even brought natural selection into the picture. They came up with the idea that not all Wallabies have the same strength and force in their legs, but why? Natural selection was the first thing they decided to observe (Biewener 2004 1). This hypothesis was so incredibly structured out, that it wasn't a surprise that they actually got results. They found out that all their muscles adjust to their surroundings and the way they interact with nature instead of just having all Wallabies have the same genes, their special potentials reflects on their environment and the act natural selection plays upon them (Biewener 2004 2). In another study, they decided to go after a different area to study. Where exactly did they go? They studied the way Wallabies' T-cells develop and compared it to human beings (Wong 2011 1). They found 67 genes that were expressed between the two thymuses and this is exactly what lead them to discuss it even more (Wong 2011 2). Skipping ahead, the studies and results did show in the result of both good maturity and development of the Wallabies' T-cells (Wong 2011 3). Not only were they the first ones to look this deep into a study, but they gave scientists a head start to understand the genetic development of Wallabies and maybe even other Marsupials worldwide. This is just the beginning of understanding that human beings aren't the only living creatures out in the world that have needs too, in fact, maybe it's time for human beings to notice the fact that our unnecessary needs are not only potentially hurting other living organisms, but maybe even ending their lives as well, just to make the human life more glamorous and exciting for selfish reasons (Wong 2011 4).


Now that the research information has been given to you at such a high standard if I do say so myself, I would like to share a personal story before we conclude. Now the reason I even picked Wallabies as my species is because someone stole the Koala topic from me...just kidding. Well, I chose a Wallaby because I absolutely love Australia!! I also chose it because ever since I was little I would love to watch Winnie The Pooh, and obviously there was a little joey named Roo, and once this research report was assigned, my childhood came back to me. So I practically went from adoring a little cartoon animated version of a Wallaby, to learning all about a real life one in approximately 10 years. I guess it was just true fate, right? Haha, again I'm simply just joking. The connection between me & Wallabies goes way back to when I was 5 and my grandma bought me a bracelet with little Kangaroos and Wallabies on it. The connection grew even more once my mom had my little sister and all I would surround her with were Roo toys from Winnie The Pooh. You can practically say I am the best sister ever and deserve an oscar, but that just doesn't happen in reality. Anyways, the fact that my favorite species is from Australia made it even ten times better. Why? Because I've always wanted to visit there, and it is definitely on my bucket list. Recently one of my cousins went to go visit Australia and she sent me a picture of a baby Wallaby at the zoo. It was simply the cutest thing ever. Now that, Mr. Pitts, is why I decided to choose a Wallaby to do my research report on endangered species.

Anonymous 2011: "Kangaroos and Wallabies":
Anonymous 2011 a: "Wallaby":
Biewener 2004: "Journal: Dynamics of Leg Muscles":
Deto 2010: "Black Footed Rock Wallaby Habitat":
Drake 2011: "Why Do Kangaroos Live in Other Parts of the World?":
Lindell 2011: "About Wallabies":
McGowan 2005: "Journal: Mechanics of Jumping":

Morgan 2011: "What Animals Are Endangered in Australia?":
Murtagh 2012: "Journal: Evolutionary History of novel genes":
Ramsey 2011: "Kangaroos and Wallabies":
Sharp 2011: "About Wallabies":
Stevenson 2011: "What Are 10 Quantitative Traits?":
Vyn 2011: "Natural Habitat of Wallabies":
Wong 2011: "Transcriptomic Analysis":