Last week I had an early morning drive along the remote Carpentaria Highway in the NT’s Gulf country. Apart from all-to-frequent roadkill here isn’t much to see along the 400 or so kilometres of this road that runs from the Stuart Highway at Daly Waters to the coast just east of the small town of Borroloola. The road has too many long straight stretches, a lot of blind corners and cattle and wildlife that wander out of the unfenced paddocks and onto the roadway.
I was about two hours into the drive when I spotted a feral cat (see the next post) and this small wallaby spread across the middle of the highway. The tabbie had most likely been hit while having a munch on the unfortunate Spectacled Hare Wallaby, Lagorchestes conspicillatus. The species was first described by John Gould, naming this hare-wallaby as Lagorchestes conspicillata.
I’ve not seen Spectacled Hare Wallabies before – or more likely not noticed them – but the Gulf country in the NT seems to be a relatively safe haven for this nocturnal species that has a widespread distribution across the savannah lands of the Top End and even into Papua New Guinea. While its conservation status is listed as being of ‘least concern,’ it is threatened by habitat loss from land clearing.
It is unfortunate that my first sighting of this cute little bugger was as roadkill …