Brush-tailed bettongs are also known as woylies, they are an extremely rare, small marsupial endemic to southern Australia. There populations and range have shrunk over time. This is due to predation by European foxes and more recently feral cats. It once inhabited 60% of the Australian mainland. In the mid-19th century they were abundant, but by the late 90’s they occurred in less than 1% of the continent. Brush-tailed bettongs is a species of potorine marsupial (family of small australian marsupials). They are a largely nocturnal species that forages for fungi during the evening. When searching for food, they stick to a central range around their nest. Brush-tailed bettongs are largely fungivorous (gaining nutrition from fungi), digging for a wide variety of fruiting fungi. They will also eat tubers, seeds, and insects.
They inhabit mostly forest, woodland, and shrubland environments. At the species peak populations, it was known to have a more versatile range into more arid and desert climates. The length of the head and body combined is between 12 to 15 inches. On average they weigh around 3 lbs. Grey-brown fur covers the entire body, with their tail being a darker brown color with a blackish tip. Brush-tailed bettongs have strong foreclaws for digging. Being a marsupial, a key feature they are known for is the pouch on its underside that carries their offspring.
Say Hello To Cub Creek's Bettongs: Wiru, Ahmeir, Sydney, Bindi & Friends
Wiru was donated to camp as a baby in September of 2015, when he was about 3 months old. He was hand raised by our animal team, as a baby he was quite attached to human affection. He is now the father of a few other bettongs. Ahmeir was donated to camp in September of 2015 when she was just over a year old. Currently, she lives in the Jungle with her mate Wiru and has mothered several of our other bettongs. Sydney came to us in September of 2015 and has been a great mother to two of our bettongs so far. She resides in Lemur Landing, sleeping during the day and hopping around at night. Bindi was born here at camp in January of 2016 to Sydney and Dundee. Truffle is Sydney and Dundee’s second joey; she was born in June of 2016. She still lives with her mom and sister Bindi in Lemur Landing. You can see them hopping around in the mornings when the lemurs are being fed. Bo was born here at camp in February of 2018 to Ahmeir and Wiru. To make him extra sociable, he was raised by Natalie, our Animal Program Coordinator. Bronte is Wiru and Ahmeir’s third joey, but first girl! She was born recently during the summer of 2019.
Bettongs natural range includes southeastern Australian and eastern Tasmania.
HABITAT -In the wild they inhabit forest, woodland, shrubland environments of Australia.
DIET -Fungi is a main staple of their diet, they also eat tubers, seeds, and insects.
FUN FACT -When moving around they hop on their back legs holding the forearms close to the body.
SOCIAL BEHAVIOR -They live in small colonies, and will pair together for mating.
ACTIVITY -They are largely nocturnal, starting to forage around dusk into the night.
PREDATORS -Predators of the Brush-tailed bettong are European foxes and feral cats.
SIZE -They can be between 12 - 15 in long, weighing around 3 lbs.
RELATIVES -The Bettongia genus contains 4 sub species. Being marsupials they are related to wallabies and kangaroos.
CONSERVATION -Brush-tailed bettongs are considered Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
Cub Creek Animal Care Information
Housing - Our brush-tailed bettongs are housed in three separate colonies and enclosures. One colony lives in multi species enclosure with ring-tailed lemurs and various parakeets. Living in this multi species enclosure promotes social interaction and diversity. The multi species enclosure has fresh watering bowls and an artificial waterfall. Bedded with mulch, and plenty of hides and trees, simulating a more natural environment. Our other bettong colonies live in a specialized enclosure just for them! It’s bedded with shavings, and with plenty of hides and trees.
Diet - Our bettongs get a specialized diet consisting of bettong mix, diced apples and sweet potatoes, mushrooms, mixed fruit and vegetables, and eggs. Bettong mix is a staple in their diets, which we make right here at camp! This mixture is designed to provide adequate nutrition helping to keep them happy and healthy. Bettong mix consists of seeds, dried fruit, rabbit pellets, and insectivore mix. We give our bettongs cooked eggs as a special treat, that they love!
Enrichment - Our brush tailed bettongs get plenty of socialization from campers during the summer. They will create hides and other structures for them to play on out of cardboard. Living in a multi species enclosure also helps to promote socialization.