Aepyprymnus rufescens Click to enlarge image
Aepyprymnus rufescens - Rufous Bettong Image: ALLAN YOUNG
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • IUCN Conservation Status
    LEAST CONCERN (LC)
    NSW Conservation Status
    Vulnerable species
  • Classification
    Species
    rufescens
    Genus
    Aepyprymnus
    Family
    Potoroidae
    Order
    Diprotodontia
    Class
    Mammalia
    Phylum
    Chordata
  • Size Range
    Up to 48 cm

Shaggy grey fur with a rufous tinge, grey tail and bare pink skin surrounding the eyes.

Identification

Largest of the potoroids. Fur is shaggy grey with a rufous tinge on top; the underparts are pale grey. The tail is grey, sometimes with a white tip. Muzzle is short, with fur between the nostrils. Bare pink skin surrounds the eyes, and the ears are relatively long.

Alternative name/s

Rufous Rat-kangaroo.

Habitat

Coastal eucalypt forest, tall wet sclerophyll forest and dry open woodlands.

Distribution

Distribution spans both sides of the Great Dividing Range from 100 m to 700 m in elevation.



Feeding and diet

They usually emerge shortly after dark to forage and primarily eat herbs, roots, tubers and fungi. They can cover large distances when foraging (2-4.5 km).


Aepyprymnus rufescens
GAH-15737.tif Image: G A Hoye
© Australian Museum

Other behaviours and adaptations

A solitary species that shelters during the day in ‘nests’, shallow excavations with a dome of fibrous vegetation across the top and a single entrance. Multiple nests are often used by the same individual.

Breeding behaviours

Females are continuous breeders, with sexual maturity reached at around 11 months. Females raise one young per pregnancy, but exhibit embryonic diapause and can have 3-4 young per year.

Predators

Since European settlement numbers have declined with some populations becoming extinct. The main causes of these declines are predation by the red fox and domestic cat, competition with rabbits and the loss of suitable habitat for agriculture.