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Reproduction growth and age determination in the yellow footed rock wallaby petrogale xanthopus in captivity



Reproduction growth and age determination in the yellow footed rock wallaby petrogale xanthopus in captivity



Australian Wildlife Research 12(2): 127-136



Yellow-footed rock-wallabies were studied in captivity over 13 yr. Individuals of both sexes attained sexual maturity from age 18 mo. and were capable of breeding throughout the year. The ranges recorded were: for length of estrous cycle 32-37 days; gestation 31-33 days; pouch life 190-201 days. Parturition was usually followed by an estrus and mating with a consequent lactation-controlled embryonic quiescence. The mean interval from removal of pouch young to birth was 31.5 days, and to estrus without an intervening birth, 34 days. Weight of the neonate within the 1st day was < 500 mg; the sex ratio of 62 young of known sex revealed a significant departure from parity with 41 .male. and 21 .female. (100:51). Growth curves were fitted for length of head, ear, arm, leg, foot, tail and weight. These measurements provided a useful means of determining age within the 1st yr and to a lesser extent the 2nd yr, length of head being the best criterion. Both sexes maintained similar growth rates when within the pouch; males grew larger once they vacated it. Patterns of molar eruption and molar progression provided a useful means of determining age in older animals but, on the data available, accuracy was restricted to the year and possibly no more than the season of birth.

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