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Last updated on April 25, 2014 at 1:22 EDT

Rufous Rat-kangaroo

The Rufous Rat-kangaroo (Aepyprymnus rufescens), also known as the Rufous Bettong, is a small species of the family Potoroidae found in Australia. It is found in coastal and sub-coastal regions from Newcastle in New South Wales to Cooktown in Queensland, and was formerly found in the Murray River Valley of New South Wales and Victoria.

The Rufous Rat-kangaroo is the only member of its genus, and is the largest of all the potoroids. It is generally gray with a hint of reddish brown and its scientific name means reddish high-rump. It was once thought of as a solitary nocturnal animal, but recent observation indicates that the Rufous Rat-kangaroo may form loose, polygynous associations. It feeds mostly on tubers and fungi, but also on leaves and other vegetation.

Breeding times occur throughout the year, once the female has reached maturity. This is generally at 11 months. The male reaches maturity between 12 and 13 months. Once mature, the female is capable of breeding at three-week intervals. Once successfully bred, the gestation of the young is just under a month, about 22-24 days. The young is born fully formed and lives within the pouch for about 16 weeks. Upon leaving the pouch, the Joey will stay near the mother for about 7 weeks, while it get used to fending for itself.

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Rufous Rat-kangaroo