Mini Pocket on the Chest

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In the bush areas of southeast Australia and Tasmania, live a group of “mini kangaroos”. They consume fruits at night and live in large groups. This is the wallaby.

They’re Not Kangaroos

At first glance, wallabies and kangaroos are very similar in appearance, and many people mistake one for the other. In general, wallabies and kangaroos differ in a few ways. Without a doubt, both animals are marsupials. A wallaby’s maximum weight is 24 kilograms. The maximum height of the wallaby is only 24 inches, while the largest kangaroo can reach 6 feet (from head to tail).

Good at Jumping

In contrast to the kangaroo’s split legs (wide leg structure), the wallaby has strong and compact hind legs, which can be used to bound along at high speed and jump great distances. When threatened by predators or fighting with another male wallaby, they will use powerful kicks from their legs. The tail of a wallaby cannot be grasped, but it is still very useful. The wallabies use them to maintain balance when moving and support themselves in a sitting position.

The Begin of Crouch Start

In 1888, an Australian sprinter observed the running of the swamp wallaby. He discover that before starting running, they always bent their bodies with their abdomens almost touching the ground, followed by a powerful bound of their hind legs, which allowed them to run as fast as a bullet.

The starting posture of the swamp wallaby is in line with the principles of biomechanics. Therefore, he imitated the posture of the swamp wallaby, combined with the characteristics of sprinting, and invented the sprinting technique known as Crouch Start. It was thought to be a “sprint technique revolution” at the time.

Special Crop Circle

The wallabies are herbivores, with most of their food being grasses and plants. Australia supplies nearly half of the world’s opium as legal painkillers. Opium is extracted from poppy plants. These plants grow in large areas of this continent. Wallabies like to run across these poppy fields in groups. After consuming a large quantity of poppy plants, these “addicts” start to behave strangely and jump in circles. At least in Australia, crop circles may not be made by aliens.

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Once on the Verge of Extinction

The use of herbicides has affected the reproductive development of wallaby. Human activities and hunting have significantly shrunk their habitat. In the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) red list, the Parma Wallaby is listed as near threatened species. Fortunately, the population of some wallaby species is slowly increasing.

Written by Zhang Yuming (INTI International University)