Animal Species:Rufous Bettong, Aepyprymnus rufescens

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

Rufous Bettong

Rufous Bettong
Photographer: G A Hoye/ Australian Museum  © Australian Museum

Standard Common Name

Rufous Bettong

Alternative Name/s

Rufous Rat-kangaroo

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.

Size range

Up to 48 cm

Distribution

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

Habitat

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

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).

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.

Mating and reproduction

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, Parasites and Diseases

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.

Conservation Status (IUCN): LEAST CONCERN (LC)
Conservation Status (NSW): Vulnerable species

What does this mean?

Classification

Species:
rufescens
Genus:
Aepyprymnus
Family:
Potoroidae
Order:
Diprotodontia
Class:
Mammalia
Phylum:
Chordata

What does this mean?


Dr Greta Frankham , Post Doctoral Researcher, Australian Centre for Wildlife Genomics
Last Updated: