Long-nosed Potoroo

The Long-nosed Potoroo (Potorous tridactylus), is a species of Australian potoroo. The Long-nosed Potoroo occurs across a range of vegetation types from subtropical and warm temperate rainforest through tall open forest with dense understorey to dense coastal heaths. Its main requirement is thick groundcover, which it needs for protection and nesting material. It also prefers light soils that are easy to dig in for the underground roots and fungi that it eats. It has a patchy distribution across south-eastern Australia and is only known from a small area of southern Queensland that extends into northern New South Wales and in southern Victoria. Its bones have been found in a number of cave deposits indicating it was once more widespread than it is today.

The Long-nosed Potoroo is only a small marsupial with a body length between 13.5 to 15 inches, and a tail length up to 9.25 inches. It resembles a bandicoot, but is more closely related to the kangaroo family. It hops with its front feet tucked into its chest. 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.

The Long-nosed Potoroo is nocturnal, spending much of its time within the shelter of understorey vegetation. It uses long, slightly curved claws on their front feet to dig up their food. It eats underground fruiting bodies of fungi, roots, fruit, flowers, seeds and insects and their larvae. Because it eats fungi, it spreads fungal spores in its droppings. Some of these fungi grow on the roots of native plants and assist the plant in the uptake of nutrients from the soil.

The Long-nosed Potoroo was one of the first marsupials to be described by European settlers. Unfortunately these early encounters with this species were the result of the spread of human settlement, which has led to the clearing of much of its habitat for grazing and other land uses. This has also exposed potoroos to a range of introduced predators including cats and foxes. They are also prey to dingoes, owls, and feral dogs.