Fast Facts on Long-nosed Potoroos

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  • Potoroos are Marsupials.  They are small members of the macropod super-family, in the family Potoroidae along with bettongs and the desert rat-kangaroo (as closely related to kangaroos as bears are to dogs!).
  • Five species in the Potoroidae family are native to Victoria, three bettong species and two potoroo species, sadly all of the bettong species are locally extinct.
  • Potoroos are mainly nocturnal, resting during day in nests made of leaves under dense cover.  They use a range of microhabitats for different  behaviours such as feeding, sheltering.
  • Habitat includes wet forests and wet scrubland. Dense understorey is essential for cover; eucalypt forests are important because potoroos rely on fungi associated with these trees.
  • Long-nosed Potoroos are solitary, except in captivity or when females have a young at heel.  They are not territorial.
  • The female potoroo carries nesting material with her tail; tails are semi-prehensile.
  • Their fur is brown-grey with rufous tinge on flanks; pale grey under parts.
  • Size: head and body 340-400mm.  Hind-foot length is shorter than head length.
  • Life expectancy: 5 to 6 years in wild / up to 12 years in captivity
  • Weight: 660-1600g
  • Fungi forms a large part of the Potoroos diet in the wild, which also includes tubers, soil arthropods, seeds, fruits and vegetation.
  • In captivity the diet includes meal worms, crickets and other insects supplemented with fresh chopped fruit and vegetables and grains and protein supplements like egg, nuts and seeds, pet food.
  • In the wild Potoroos breed once or twice a year depending on climate and habitat conditions with a peak in late winter, however, in captivity they can breed multiple times a year as a result of consistent living conditions and optimal diet.  Potoroos are promiscuous.
  • Long-nosed Potoroos give birth to a single young after a gestation period of 38 days.  Newborns weigh 0.3 g
  • Young stay in the pouch for between 120- 130 days. After leaving the pouch the young remain near the mother, and still feed for about 40 days (weaned at 170 days).
  • Potoroos become sexually mature at around 12 months of age.
  • Conservation Status: Long-nosed Potoroos are classified as Vulnerable due to habitat fragmentation; fragmented habitats quickly isolate populations, leading to inbreeding and declines.
  • Threats include loss of natural habitat and predation by introduced cats and foxes.

Compiled by Marika Van Der Pol, Conservation Research Assistant.

Many thanks to Dunkeld Pastoral Company for sharing Pip the Potoroo with us.

Meet Pip on a Walk on the Dark Side at the Great Ocean Ecolodge.