Long-nosed Potoroo (Potorous tridactylus tridactylus)

Endagered Species Classification

Extinct in the Wild
Critically Endangered
Conservation Dependent

The Long-Nosed Potoroo is one of the smallest and most ancient members of the kangaroo family. Potoroos are from an ancient branch in the evolution of kangaroos and represent a living fossil, having remained relatively unchanged for around 10 million years. Like many other smaller native mammals the Long-nosed Potoroo has declined in number since the introduction of foxes and cats.

They are now only found in in isolated populations along the coastal Victoria, New South Wales and up into south-eastern Queensland. The geographical separation of the populations is major threat to the ongoing survival of the species.

Fox control programs in Victoria and New South Wales have reduced the predation pressure on Long-nosed Potoroos. The Southern Ark project in Far East Gippsland, Victoria has implemented a baiting strategy to effectively reduce the abundance of foxes in one million hectares of native forests. Trapping results indicate an increase in Potoroo numbers corresponding to a decrease in fox numbers.

FAME has supported populations of Long-nosed Potoroos in protected areas of South Australia and Victoria since 2000 and the Southern Ark Project in Victoria.

Appearance: The upper body is brown to grey with a paler underbody and a long nose that tapers with a small patch of skin extending from the snout to the nose. The length of the feet is shorter than the head length. The animal tends to have a 4-legged pottering motion, but when startled, hops like all other kangaroos.

Size: Males are typically larger and heavier than females. Body length (excluding the tail) between 28–41 cm (males) and 25–37 cm (females). Tail lengths range between 20–26 cm (males) and 19–25 cm (females). Weight ranges from 740–1640g (males)  and 660–1350g (females).

Habitat: Long-nosed Potoroos utilise a wide variety of habitats from wet forest to dry scrub, preferably where there is dense understorey.

Diet: Potoroos eat many types of roots, tubers, fruits, seeds, insects and larvae, all depending on seasonal availability.

Did you know?
Potoroos improve the health of the forest by helping to disperse a host of beneficial fungi spores as they move about. These fungi, which form a major part of their diet, live in association with the roots of various Eucalypts and Acacias. The fungi help the trees to absorb more water and nutrients, and are sometimes essential for seedling survival.

As part of a contingent of herbivorous marsupials, they also act as nature’s fire fighters by keeping the undergrowth down via grazing and turning the leaf litter over.

Click here to download a factsheet about the Long-nosed Potoroo (Potorous tridactylus tridactylus)

Last updated May 2015