While you are far more likely to see – or hear – wallabies in and around the Dawn Road Reserve, particularly at night, you may be lucky during the day or evening to see the occasional eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus).
Our local wallabies – thought to be either red-necked wallabies (Macropus rufogriseus) or black-striped wallabies (Macropus dorsalis) – are pretty shy mobs and tend to move away fairly quickly if they detect humans or danger, but the bolder eastern grey kangaroo, at least locally, is a bit more solitary, inquisitive – and powerful – and may stand its ground, as the one above did, just to see what your intentions are.
In the evenings, if you are near the Reserve’s edges, you may hear the soft thuds of wallabies moving around as they graze or head away from potential danger. However, if there is an eastern grey kangaroo taking off, the sound of it bounding away at up to 55km/hr is significantly louder.
If you’re really observant, and the ground is soft enough, you may even see the imprint of a kangaroo’s tail.
Eastern greys are grey-brown marsupials that belong to a group of mammals called macropods and, according to Australia Zoo, males of this species can grow to as big as 2.8m in height and 66kg in weight. Females grow to only about half that size.
As the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection warns: “Watching a mother kangaroo or wallaby feeding while its joey fumbles around in her pouch is a special experience. When wild animals seem this placid and caring, it can be tempting to get close to them, touch them and even feed them. With regular feeding, a kangaroo or wallaby learns to approach people for food. Even without feeding, kangaroos and wallabies readily accept our presence if we show no aggression towards them. But, if we get too close, they may see us as a threat.”
It also warns that feeding kangaroos and wallabies can habituate them to expecting food from humans and, when there is no food forthcoming, they may become aggressive. Because of their size, and a tendency to protect their own kind, it is wisest not to approach or provoke a kangaroo.
Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection
Image: Peter Bull