Mulberry Tips


  • Wallabies eating Mulberry Leaves.   Brian Lowry from Crystal Waters reports:  I had always accepted the generalization that the large macropods are grazers rather than browsers, the big marsupial browsers being not-so-long gone in the extinct megafauna of Australia. Observations on our lot make it make it not so simple. Among the abundant wildlife are large numbers of pretty-face wallabies and grey kangaroos that, as might be expected, have an impact on any small plant that one is nurturing. Not in this category are a number of mulberry trees with such vigorous growth that the outer limbs are weighed down almost to the ground by thick foliage. It is notable that the prettyface wallabies actively browse mulberry leaves. They seek out cut limbs on the ground to defoliate, even consuming dry leaves and browse accessible foliage on the tree leaving a distinct “browse line” of bare stems on the lower part. The height of this – about 1.8mtr was a puzzle because it seemed well out of reach of the wallabies. It seemed plausible for the much larger grey kangaroos to be responsible but they properly stuck to their reputation as grazers and showed no interest in the tree leaves. The answer came one day when I had a perfect profile view of a wallaby sitting upright under the tree and saw it take a small vertical leap, clasp the leafy branch with its forepaws, drag it down and hold it while it ate the leaf. If only I had it on video! It seems an obvious feeding strategy but do we know of macropods performing purely vertical leaps?