Skip to main content
sdzglibrarybanner San Diego Zoo Global Library

Red-necked Wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus) Fact Sheet: Managed Care

Red-necked Wallaby Macropus rufogriseus


  • Breeding programs
    • Breeds readily in managed care settings (e.g., zoos); is most common marsupial found in zoos across Australia, Britain, Europe (Merchant & Calaby 1981)
    • Care must be taken to prevent mating between species of wallabies and kangaroos kept in mixed group enclosures (Jackson 2003)
      • Hybrids are almost always infertile
  • Caring for orphaned joeys is more difficult than for many other mammals 
    • A natural response occurs when joey experiences a fall in nutrition quality:
      • Thymus glands shrink
      • Immunity to infection is lessened
      • Joey may die of bacterial infection
    • Caregivers need to provide adequate nutrition to overcome this problem
  • Orphaned joeys require sunshine and exercise out of the pouch substitute in order for strong bones to develop
    • The Achilles tendons need exercise to stretch as the leg bones grow
      • Without exercise the young kangaroo eventually will be unable to walk or hop
    • Joeys need encouragement (from their mother or caregivers) to gain enough confidence to exit their pouch and explore the outside world 

Wallabies Growing Up

Red-necked wallabies at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

© San Diego Zoo Global. All rights reserved.

Zoo Breeding Surprise

an albino red-necked wallaby at the San Diego Zoo

An albino red-necked wallaby at the San Diego Zoo.

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Global. All rights reserved.

Page Citations

Jackson (2003)
Merchant & Calaby (1981)
Staker (2006) 

SDZG Library Links