The smallest macropodids, this marsupial resembles a small kangaroo. The Musky rat-kangaroo moves around by slow "bunny-hop" movement. An important identifying feature of this animal is its hind feet, having 5 toes.
Due to their shyness and quickness, these kangaroos are extremely difficult to spot and observe in the wild. Musky rat-kangaroos are generally solitary, although they are known to feed in small groups of 2 - 3 individuals. These diurnal animals sleep in their nests, typically made between the plank buttresses of a large tree or in a clump of Lawyer Vine. When constructing their nests, Musky rat-kangaroos collect nesting material (e.g. ferns, lichens and dried grass) with their tails. When running, they use all of their four limbs, as opposed to other macropods, hopping on their hind feet. According to an observation, these kangaroos may sunbathe on fallen logs. They have also been seen in trees, suggesting they are good climbers.
Little is known about the mating and reproductive behavior of Musky rat-kangaroos, due to their elusive behavior. However, they are known to breed from February to July. Like in other kangaroos, gestation period lasts for 19 days, yielding 2 young. Newborn babies live in the pouch of their mother for 21 weeks, after which they come out of the pouch, remaining in the nest for additional several weeks. Females of this species reach sexual maturity after one year old.
In course of time, these kangaroos have lost a big part of their original range, especially in the coastal lowlands, where their rainforest habitat has been turned to agricultural and pastoral areas. Currently, there are no notable threats to the population of Musky rat-kangaroos. However, the animals are thought to be hunted by feral cats and dogs. They may also suffer from clearing of rainforest, which is their natural habitat.
According to IUCN, the Musky rat-kangaroo is common across its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC), and its numbers are stable.
Feeding upon vegetation, Musky rat-kangaroos serve as key seed dispersers of the rainforest ecosystem, enhancing regeneration of various plants.