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Long-footed Potoroo (Potorous longipes)

Long footed potoroo

The Long-Footed Potoroo

Long-footed potoroos are also known as “rat kangaroos”. There are currently only three known populations of this species in Australia; New South Wales, east Gippsland, and the Great Dividing Range. The long-footed potoroo was recently discovered in 1968; in 1978 the long-footed potoroo was recognized as a species. Long-footed potoroos are and endangered species due to an increase of predators and a loss of habitat to human development.

The long-footed potoroo is quite flexible about its habitat; the only necessities appear to be an open forest where food can be easily found and a gully with thick vegetation. Nests made of grass are built in the gully. This species is nocturnal and prefers to live alone.

The body coloration is a dull brown with a grey underbelly. The hind feet are large (hence the name ‘long-footed’) and are peach in color, the same peach color is also present on the front paws, the end of the nose, and the inner ear. Average measurements for the long-footed potoroo are as follows: head and body- 400mm, tail- 320mm, hind feet- 110mm, and weight- 2kg.

Fungi comprise about 90% of the long-footed potoroo’s diet. The long-footed potoroo helps the fungi spread through its droppings. Various forms of vegetation are also consumed by this marsupial.

Long-footed potoroos generally reach reproductive maturity at 2 years of age. Breeding occurs all year, the gestation period is not known. Although the female is capable of producing many litters each year, each litter only produces one young. The average pouch life is 145 days. Young become independent around 4 months old, until then they follow their mother around. There are records of captive long-footed potoroos living over 13 years, the life span of a wild long-footed potoroo is not known.

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A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia, Menkhorst, P. and Knight, F. ©2001.

Animal Info-Long-footed Potoroo, Massicot, P., 8/8/04, www.animalinfo.org/species/potolong.htm.

Long-footed Potoroo (Potorous longipes) Recovery Plan, Australian Department of Environment and Heritedge, 8/9/04, http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/recovery/long-footed-potoroo/index.html.

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