Home Life Trends Musky rat-kangaroo Facts, Diet, Habitat

Musky rat-kangaroo Facts, Diet, Habitat

Evolution and systematics

The Hypsiprimnodontidae are thought of to be probably the most fundamental group of Macropodoidea, on account of their easy abdomen, remaining first toe, obvious incapability to hop “kangaroo-like,” common twin births, and many others. In skeletal morphology they share numerous traits with Potoroidae, i.e., massive masseteric foramina, a blade-like construction of the third premolars, the presence of higher canines, and a confluence of the masseteric and inferior dental canals on their mandibles. The Hypsiprymnodontidae are separated from Potoroidae by the truth that they possess two (as an alternative of 1) decrease incisors, and the truth that their squamosal bones are in broad contact with the frontals (that is related to Macropodidae). On serological floor, all rat-kangaroos are nearer to macropodids than to phalangerids, whereas their bunodont (rounded-cusp) molars resemble phalangerids extra intently. Hypsiprymnodontidae have been recognized within the fossil file for the reason that Miocene. One species, Hyspiprymnodon bartholomai, from the early Miocene (roughly 20 million years in the past), could be very related in form and measurement to the dwelling species of musky rat-kangaroo, thus making the extant species a real dwelling fossil. However, probably the most dramatic family members are definitely the extinct Propleopinae, the so-called big rat-kangaroos. In the Pleistocene, a few of them reached the scale of a real kangaroo (up to a minimum of 132 lb [60 kg]), and so they had been most likely a minimum of partially carnivorous. The measurement, put on, and place of their molars, their lengthy, protruding, dagger-like incisors, and the comparatively small variety of their stays in fossil deposits, all level to a place close to the highest of the food-chain. The smallest of these species, Ekaltadeta sina, reached 33-44 lb (15-20 kg), and is among the oldest kangaroo species of all. The largest and youngest species, Propleopus oscillans, is a Pleistocene species whose final members most likely turned extinct about 10,000 years in the past. Some researchers speculate that propleopines might have died out as just lately as 6,000 years in the past (which might imply that they survived till the dingo appeared). The taxonomy for this species is Hypsiprymnodon moschatus Ramsay, 1876, Queensland, Australia.

Physical traits

The one extant species, Hypsiprymnodon moschatus , is kind of simple to acknowledge. It has a slender head, with an nearly “delicate” cranium, a hairless rhinarium, and no concavity on the dorsal facet. Its fur is mushy and rufous-brown with grey underfur on the top. Forelimbs and hindlimbs are extra equal in lengths than in potoroids (or macropodids), and the hindfoot has a claw-less, however distinguished first digit, which will be opposed. They have striated pads and ceratinous scales on the palms of their arms and the soles of their ft. The animal is small, and men and women are of comparable sizes. Females (18 oz/511 g) weigh barely lower than males (18.7 oz/529 g).


The musky rat-kangaroo is discovered solely in a single small space of about 199 mi by 40 mi (320 km by 65 km), in northern Queensland. As far as is thought, this vary has not been any bigger in historic time. All the extinct species additionally had been rainforest-species. However, as rainforest coated extra of Australia in prehistoric instances, their vary additionally was bigger.


Musky rat-kangaroos are strictly confined to tall rainforests in any respect altitudes. They are most usually noticed in damp areas, round lakes, or close to creeks and rivers. Though principally terrestrial, they're adept climbers, and may typically be discovered on fallen branches, bushes, or logs. The striated pads and ceratinous scales on their palms and soles assist them climb. In a breeding colony in Pallarenda, close to Townsville, animals had been noticed to climb up to heights of greater than 6.6 ft (2 m). Musky rat-kangaroos assemble nests, related to potoroid nests, by accumulating plant materials, carrying it of their tails, and forming free piles of leaves in clumps of vines or close to rootbuttresses. When disturbed, the animals normally retreat into extra dense, shrubby vegetation, resembling close to the lakeshores, returning into the tall forest after the disturbance ceases.


Musky rat-kangaroos appear to be principally solitary within the wild, although in captivity they are often stored in pairs, or one male will be stored with two or extra females. However, it has been inconceivable to hold two or extra males collectively, even in enclosures of 215 ft 2 (200 m2). In the wild, aggregations of up to three animals are generally seen feeding on fallen fruit. There isn't any proof of territoriality. Descriptions of social habits are nearly nonexistent, apart from some descriptions of physique postures (standing in entrance of feminine, pawing her head, or lateral sinuous actions of the tails in male courtship). Musky rat-kangaroo are solely diurnal, spending the night time and the noontime of their nests.

Feeding ecology and weight-reduction plan

Food is placed presumably by scent and retrieved from leaf litter with the forepaws. Fruits and nuts of rainforest bushes (e.g., candlenut, Aleuntes moluccana; king palm, Archontophoenix alexandrae; and kelat or watergum, Eugenia kuranda) are eaten, in addition to bugs, earthworms, and different invertebrates. Shells of small nuts or exoskeletons of bugs are crushed by pushing them deep into the mouth between the sectorial blades of the third premolars. The flesh of fruit is scraped off with the decrease incisors. Due to the straightforward, sacciform forestomach, and the relatively small hindgut and caecum, musky rat-kangaroos are likely unable to digest allozymatically (i.e., by way of micro organism and different symbiontic organisms), not like all different macropodoids. This signifies that they want to forage on low-fiber, easy-todigest meals.

Reproductive biology

Courtship and mating appears to comply with typical rat-kangaroo patterns, that are polygynous. The male quickly chases the feminine, or blocks her method by standing in entrance of her, slashing his tail laterally in undulating actions and pawing her head. If the feminine is just not but receptive, she throws herself onto her facet and vigorously kicks on the male along with her hind-limbs. When she is extra receptive, each animals stand erect and contact one another’s face and neck with their forepaws. These courtship phases might final a couple of days and usually happen between February and July. Two younger, sometimes triplets, are born, and twins are usually raised of their mom’s pouch. After about 21 weeks the younger depart the pouch, and largely keep within the nest for a number of weeks. Only then do they comply with their moms in typical young-at-heel fashion, related to different kangaroos. Females change into ####ually mature at simply over one 12 months of age.

Conservation standing

Though not listed by the IUCN, the 1996 Action Plan from the IUCN’s Australian Marsupial and Monotreme Specialist Group means that H. moschatus be listed as Lower Risk/Least Concern due to its restricted space of distribution, and the truth that its solely habitat—closed, tall rainforest—is quickly diminishing in Australia.