The musky rat-kangaroo is a small marsupial found only in northeastern Australia’s rainforests. First reported in the later 19th century, the only other species are discovered from fossil specimens. They are similar in appearance to bettongs and potoroos but are not as intimately related. Their omnivorous diet incorporates materials such as fungi and fruit and small animals such as bugs and other insects. The local Aboriginal name for the species is durrgim yuri.
There are many animals of the Kangaroo family known to as Rat-kangaroos. Note that in the English language, when a mammal’s name is made up of two different kinds of animal, the second one is the kind of animal while the first is what it looked like to whoever named it; so a Rat-kangaroo is a kind of Kangaroo while a Kangaroo-rat is a kind of a Rat. Most Kangaroos have much longer back legs than their front ones, but the Musky Rat-kangaroo has all four legs of the same length, so they do not tend to jump and hop as much as the bigger Kangaroos.
Here a few interesting facts bout the Musky Rat-Kangaroo
The Musky Rat-kangaroo is the only surviving species of the family Hypsiprymnodontidae. It is the tiniest of the Macropods. The Musky Rat-kangaroo’s maximum weight is about one and a half pounds, while the average is about a pound.
Musky Rat-kangaroos are most productive in the morning and afternoon, going back to their shelter during the middle of the day. They are mostly terrestrial, hunting at the forest floor, although they can move through the lower vegetation branches.
A nest is roughly built at a site where the animal shelters while resting. Observations of the behavior within its thick habitat presented difficulties to early fieldwork. However, the use of a thread, gently glued to the mammal and fed from a spool, allowing the activity and range of males and females to be more precisely evaluated. The individual ranges overlap in both their both nest site and foraging. Males may go out in a field from 0.8 to 4.2 hectares, while females are reported foraging over a smaller sized area of up to 2.2 ha. Although they are usually alone in the activities, many may gather to feed at fallen fruit.
This animal lives in the tropic rainforests of North Queensland. It can be seen throughout the day in the Crater Lakes National Park. Your best chance of viewing wild ones is to go on some of the walking trails around Lake Eacham, and keep your eyes wide open.
This animal mainly eats fruit such as vines’ fruit, Walnuts, Lilly-pillies, Figs, and Quandongs. They also eat tubers, soft-coated seeds, and other roots and fungus. Their diet is generally more affluent than that of the larger Kangaroos. Their uncomplicated and premitive system would not get sufficient nutrients from many of their relatives’ high roughage meal.
The Musky Rat-kangaroo is threatened by the fragmentation and destruction of its habitat. Because their rainforests are being broken into separate small areas by clearing for agricultural and commercial, they cannot go from one place to another. This can lead to regional extinction and contributes to social inbreeding, which can weaken populations.