Long-nosed rat-kangaroo, Wallaby rat, Long-nosed potoroo
The long-nosed potoroo (Potorous tridactylus ) is a species of potoroo. These small marsupials are part of the rat-kangaroo family. The long-nosed potoroo contains two subspecies, P. t. tridactylus from mainland Australia, and P. t. apicalis from Tasmania, which tends to have lighter fur than P. t. tridactylus.At first glance, the long-nosed potoroo with its pointed nose and grey-brown fur looks very much like a bandicoot — that is, until it hops away with its front feet tucked into its chest, revealing its close relationship with the kangaroo family. The long-nosed potoroo exhibits many morphological specializations such as an elongated pointed rostral region (nose), erect ears, large eyes, claws for digging, and long robust hind legs. It is only a small marsupial, with a body length between 34 and 38 cm (13–15 in), and a semi-prehensile tail length of 15 to 24 cm (5.9–9.4 in).Show More
As it is rarely seen in the wild, better indicators of its presence are the runways it makes through the undergrowth and the hollow diggings it leaves behind when feeding on underground roots and fungi.Show Less
Nocturnality is an animal behavior characterized by being active during the night and sleeping during the day. The common adjective is "nocturnal",...
An omnivore is an animal that has the ability to eat and survive on both plant and animal matter. Obtaining energy and nutrients from plant and ani...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Jumping (saltation) can be distinguished from running, galloping, and other gaits where the entire body is temporarily airborne by the relatively l...
Altricial animals are those species whose newly hatched or born young are relatively immobile. They lack hair or down, are not able to obtain food ...
Among animals, viviparity is the development of the embryo inside the body of the parent. The term 'viviparity' and its adjective form 'viviparous'...
Polygynandry is a mating system in which both males and females have multiple mating partners during a breeding season.
Generally solitary animals are those animals that spend their time separately but will gather at foraging areas or sleep in the same location or sh...
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
After dragging a fleeing animal from its shelter, Charles Darwin described the Long-nosed potoroo as “an animal, as big as a rabbit, but with the figure of a kangaroo”. This small kangaroo is one of the most ancient species of its family. Belonging to an ancient branch in the evolution of kangaroos, patoroos have undergone little changes during 10 million years, becoming a living fossil. The pointed nose and grey-brown fur make this animal quite similar to bandicoot. However, when the Long-nosed potoroo hops away, tucking its front feet into its chest, its association with kangaroos becomes obvious.
Populations of Long-nosed potoroos occur on Tasmania, some of the Bass Strait islands as well as south-eastern coast of Australia, from Queensland to south-eastern South Australia. In order to find shelter from predators, potoroos usually live in areas with dense ground cover. They favor habitats with a variety of vegetation communities, including coastal heath and coastal woodland, dry and wet sclerophyll forests and rainforest.
Long-nosed potoroos are generally solitary. They socialize only when mating or rearing their offspring. In addition, there have been observed loose feeding groups, consisting of several males and females. These potoroos do not display territorial behavior. Home ranges of these animals often: while home range of one male can overlap with these of multiple females, each female has exclusive home range in order to have access to the male at any time of year. As nocturnal animals, Long-nosed potoroos spend their daytime hours sheltering in dense vegetation. They come out of their shelters during the night to find food. However, during the winter (particularly on cloudy days), they are known to emerge from their shelters by day. When foraging, potoroos usually make short hops on the forest floor and dig small hollows in the ground to find food. Living in dense vegetation, Long-nosed potoroos create a system of tracks through the undergrowth, which serve as reliable protection from predators.
The diet of these omnivorous animals primarily consists of fungi, complemented with green vegetation, tubers, seeds, fruits as well as arthropods such as centipedes.
Long-nosed potoroos are polygynandrous (promiscuous): this is when both males and females have multiple mates. They breed all year round with peak periods, occurring in early spring and early summer. Gestation period in this species is the longest among all marsupials - 38 days. Female gives birth to a single baby, which climbs into the pouch of its mother, living there for about 4 months. Weaning occurs by 5 - 6 months of age, while sexual maturity is reached at one year old.
These animals presently suffer from logging and resulting changes in fire regimes. Long-nosed potoroo face loss of their natural habitat and predation by cats, dogs, foxes and other introduced predators.
According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of the Long-nosed potoroo is estimated at 75,000 mature individuals. This species is classified as Near Threatened (NT), its numbers are currently decreasing.
As herbivores, these potoroos help prevent fires by grazing undergrowth as well as turning the leaf litter over. Due to feeding upon fungi, Long-nosed potoroos serve as key dispersers of its spores, thus helping maintain health of the local ecosystem. Fungi, found at the roots of various Eucalypts and Acacias, are highly beneficial for trees, allowing them to absorb more water and nutrients and can help seedlings survive.