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Scientific Classification
A pademelon is any of four species of small kangaroo-like creatures that are usually found in forests. Pademelons are one of the smallest species of macropods.

Pademelons, wallabies, and kangaroos are all very alike in body structure, and the names just refer to the three different size groups. Originally wallabies were divided into small and large wallabies, but a more suitable name was needed to differentiate between them. The word "pademelon" is probably a corruption of their aboriginal name.

Besides their smaller size, pademelons can be distinguished from wallabies by their shorter, thicker, and sparsely haired tails.

Distribution and Habitat

Red-necked pademelons can be found in the coastal regions of Queensland and New South Wales. In some places their range has been drastically reduced. Red-legged pademelons can also be found in south-central New Guinea. The red-bellied or tasmanian pademelon is abundant in Tasmania. The dusky pademelon lives in Papua New Guinea and surrounding islands.

The natural habitat of the pademelon is in thick scrubland or dense forested undergrowth. They also make tunnels through long grasses and bushes in swampy country.

Diet and Behavior

If there are no predators, such as dogs, they graze in the early mornings or evenings on grassy slopes near thickets, into which they can quickly escape at the first sign of danger. Tasmanian pademelons are nocturnal and feed at night.

Their main diet is made up of grasses, leaves, and small shoots. They do little damage to crops and are not as aggressive as wallabies and kangaroos can be, making them gentle pets.

Tasmanian pademelons were important to the thylacine's diet, and are still preyed on by quolls, Tasmanian devils, and wedge-tailed eagles. Despite these predators, there are many in Tasmania and every year some are killed off to keep their numbers down.

Problems Faced

Their meat used to be considered valuable, and they were eaten by settlers and aborigines for a long time. It was once even suggested that they be introduced to France as a meat supply. However, pademelons, like all kangaroos, are slow breeders and almost always produce one young per year, meaning it would be difficult to raise enough to use for food.

Aside from being killed for their meat and soft fur, their numbers have been reduced by the introduction of predators such as wild cats, dogs, and foxes. The rabbit explosion has also caused problems, as the rabbits graze on the same grasses making less available for the pademelon. People clearing the land to make room for homes has pushed the larger wallabies and kangaroos into the land that the pademelons had been thriving in for so long.

Conservation Status