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Celebrating the achievements of landcarers

04/12/2017

The Tamar Island Wetland Cares Volunteer Group has been recognised in the 2017 Landcare Tasmania Awards.More

Horsetail Falls walk now open

15/11/2017

Visitors to the West Coast are in for some spectacular views on the new Horsetail Falls walk near Queenstown.More

Bruny Island Neck lookout re-opens

10/11/2017

The walkways and lookout at the Bruny Island Neck will re-open to the public today, following the completion of a new, larger car park that will provide improved access to the popular lookout.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.