Spencer & Gillen

A journey through Aboriginal Australia

Rufous Hare-wallaby, Lagorchestes hirsutus, atnunga


"Name of rabbit bandicoot. Arunta tribe." (NorTCA, Glossary) Pitjantjatjara Dictionary has mala = rufous hare-wallaby (Lagorchestes hirsutus) and the Western Arrernte dictionary has tnwengke = rufous hare-wallaby which also supports Carl Strehlow's wordlist entry of 'rat-kangaroo'. T.G.H. Strehlow writes in Songs of Central Australia: "tnungka = mala in the Loritja language = the Central Australian sandhill rat-kangaroo Bettongia leseur Quoy and Gaimard 1824. In Records of the Horn Expedition Pt II, p16 "Mal-la" is given as the native name of the "common sand-hill rat kangaroo of Central Australia". The tnungka is notable for the incredible speed with which it darts in and out in zigzag fashion among the spinifex tussocks. (Finlayson Red Centre chapter IV, however, states that the maala is the hare wallaby, Lagorchestes hirsutus)." Kadnunga in Arabana. (see XM5863: 39)

Totem Details

Common Name
Rufous Hare-wallaby
Scientific Name
Lagorchestes hirsutus
Arrernte Name
Alternative Spellings