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Brush-Tailed Bettong Fact Sheet

  • Latin Name

    Bettongia penicillata
  • Class

  • Order

  • Range

    Southwestern Australia to central New South Wales

  • Status

    Endangered. Lincoln Park Zoo cooperatively manages brush-tailed bettong populations with other institutions in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

  • Habitat

    Grasslands and wooded areas

  • Niche

    Nocturnal, terrestrial and herbivorous. Bettongs feed mainly on roots, tubers and legume pods, but there are reports of them feeding on carrion, meat and marine refuse.

  • Life History

    The bettong constructs a nest of grass or sticks and bark. The nests are usually located at the base of an overhanging bush. The length of undelayed gestation is 21 days after which one or two young are born. Just after the first young is born the female mates again, but because of embryonic dispause, development is delayed and partruition of the second young does not take place for 4 months.

  • Special Adaptations

    • The females can sexually mature at 200 days, giving the animal a high reproductive rate.
    • Also known as the rat kangaroo, the brush-tailed bettong's tail is partially prehensile, enabling the animal to use it to carry nesting material.


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