Nature conservation

Threatened species

Bridled Nailtail Wallaby - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Onychogalea fraenata
Conservation status in NSW: Extinct
Commonwealth status: Endangered
Profile last updated: 05 Aug 2019


The Bridled Nail-tail Wallaby is a medium-sized macropod. They can grow to one metre in length, half of which is tail, and weighs 4–8 kg. Females are somewhat smaller than the males. They have distinctive markings of a white 'bridle' line running from the centre of the neck, along the shoulder to behind the forearm on each side of the body. A black stripe runs the length of the body, and white cheek stripes are present on both sides of the head. A 'nail' at the tip of the tail is between 3-6mm and is partly concealed by hair.


The distribution of the Bridled Nailtail Wallaby has declined rapidly since European settlement and now only occurs in a small area of central Queensland. At the time of European settlement, Bridled Nail-tail Wallabies were apparently common in eastern Australia to the west of the Great Dividing Range. In the mid-nineteenth century the species ranged from the Murray River region of north-western Victoria through central NSW, and north to Charters Towers in Queesnland. The species' range has declined dramatically during the last century; it is currently presumed extinct in NSW and for over 30 years the species was believed to be extinct across its range. In 1973 researchers confirmed a population of Bridled Nailtail Wallabies on a property in central Queensland. New populations of the wallaby have been re-introduced to habitats it once occupied to aid recovery of the species. In 1996 Bridled Nailtails were introduced to Idalia National Park and in 2005 the population was estimated at over 300 individuals. Captive breeding enclosures have also been constructed on a large private property in Queensland south of Emerald. The property has been converted to a Nature Refuge and is now home to a third free ranging population of about 100 wallabies.

Habitat and ecology

  • The Bridled Nail-tail Wallaby previously occupied Acacia shrubland and grassy woodland in semi-arid regions of eastern Australia.
  • The wallabies are most active during the night-time and dusk periods. Day is usually spent sleeping in hollows near bushes or trees. In modern habitats, nail-tails keep close to the edges of pasture grasses.
  • These wallabies have a strong reputation as shy and solitary animals. They may occasionally form small groups of up to four to feed together when grazing is in short supply. The Bridled Nailtail Wallaby prefers to avoid confrontation and has two main ways of avoiding threats – hiding in hollow logs and crawling under low shrubs. If caught in the open, it may try to lie completely still, hoping not to be observed.
  • The Bridled Nail-tail Wallaby diet is diverse, including herbaceous species, grasses and shrubs. Proportions of these different plant groups vary with season and availability.
  • Bridled Nailtail Wallabies’ sexual maturity is reached at 136-277 days for females and 270-419 days for males. These wallabies can have up to three young a year (one at a time). The gestation period is around 24 days and young stay in the pouch for about 120 days.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Other StateQLD Known None