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New lease of life for original lighthouse vents

15/05/2018

As part of the ongoing conservation of the Cape Bruny and Maatsuyker Island lighthouses, a team effort has been underway to restore the original bronze vents from the lighthouses' lantern rooms.More

Record visitor numbers at Highfield Historic Site

09/05/2018

Visitation numbers at Highfield Historic Site in Stanley have reached a record high, with 12,535 people visiting in the 12 months ending March 2018.More

Cradle Mountain shuttle bus tender awarded

08/05/2018

A new bus fleet featuring environmentally friendly technology and vehicles with improved accessibility and increased capacity will help to meet increasing visitor numbers following the awarding of the tender to McDermott Coaches.More

Tasmanian Bettong, Bettongia gaimardi

Description

Bettong

Bettongs typically reach 2 kg in weight and are coloured brown-grey above and white below. The tail of the bettong is as long as the head and body while; in comparison, the tail of the potoroo is significantly shorter.

Distribution and habitat

The bettong is only found in the eastern half of Tasmania. It became extinct on the mainland in the early decades of the twentieth century, largely because of predation by foxes and large scale land clearance.

The bettong prefers dry open eucalypt forests and grassy woodlands. It is nocturnal, spending the hours of daylight in a domed, camouflaged nest of grass. The bettong collects suitable nesting material and carries it back to the nest site in its prehensile tail, which it curls downward around the bundle. In comparison to the potoroo which does not venture far when feeding, the bettong may travel up to 1.5 km from the nest to a feeding area; quite a journey for an animal this size!

Diet

The diet of the bettong includes seeds, roots, bulbs and insects, but like the potoroo, underground fungi are a favourite item on the menu. Predators include masked owls, eastern quolls, feral cats and dogs.

Breeding

There is no specific breeding season with animals capable of giving birth throughout the year. Gestation is 21 days. Because of the relatively short time that young bettongs spend in the pouch, these animals can produce up to three young per year.

Pouch life is about 3.5 months and weaning occurs at 5 - 6 months. Sexually maturity is reached at about 12 months of age. Longevity in the wild is 3-5 years.

Status

The bettong remains moderately common in suitable habitat. However, both species have been affected by the clearing of bush areas, with new growth forest being less suitable for their needs. Little of the bettong's habitat is protected within reserves. With the highest densities occurring on private land, it is important that property owners manage remaining vegetation to allow the continued existence of the bettong. The species is wholly protected.