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Northern Bettong (Bettongia tropica)

Northern Bettong

The Northern Bettong


The northern bettong is a nocturnal marsupial that is currently found in northern Queensland in three locations: the Mt. Carbine Tableland, the Lamb range, and Mt. Windsor. For 40 years the species was presumed extinct until the 1970s when the animal was recorded again. The last record before that was in 1932, and prior to 1932 there were only five other specimens. Northern bettongs are an endangered species, their habitat is declining due land being developed for human use. Due to the rarity of this species, very little is known about its behavior.

Northern bettongs like to live in a forest where there is abundant moisture, plenty of grass, and a dense canopy. The land itself is generally infertile. Altitudes above 400m are favored. Nests are constructed of grass and are hidden from view under a tussock. The northern bettong is a solitary animal.

Average measurements for the northern bettong are as follows: head and body 230mm, tail 350mm, and weight about 1.5kg. Coloration is a simple grey on the back that fades into a lighter grey on the underbelly; the tail has some black on the end half and black running on the top for the entire length. The northern bettong is equipped with long nails used to dig. This species is quite small for a marsupial.

The northern bettong feeds primarily on fungi, various forms of vegetation are eaten when necessary. Some of the food is dug from under the ground using the animalís long claws. When foraging, the northern bettong will search a considerable area for the favored fungi.

Northern bettongs breed all year. Young remain in their motherís pouch until they are capable of walking behind her.

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Bibliography

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

Animal Info-Northern Bettong, Massicot, P., 8/6/04, www.animalinfo.org/species/betttrop.htm.

Recovery Plan for the Northern Bettong (Bettongia tropica)2000-2004, Australian Department of the Environment and Heritage, 8/6/04, http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/recovery/northern-bettong/index.html.


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