The northern bettong is a small potoroid (Macropodoidea) with an adult weight of 1 – 1.5 kg, a body length of 300 – 380 mm and a tail length of 290 – 360 mm. The species has pale grey fur with a cream underbelly. Distinctive features include: a short black crest of fur on the upper-distal part of the tail; very short fore-limbs which are held close to the body while moving; long nails on the hands (used for digging); delicate hind legs; and a rounded back and low head while hopping. There are no distinct morphological differences between sexes.
Northern Bettong |
Status: Endangered on the EPBC Act list
Government evidence of impact of climate change:
Australian Government, Conservation Advice, Bettongia tropica
Climate change Drought known The availability of truffles is strongly associated with current rainfall; with truffle abundance decreasing with reduced rainfall.
Further contraction of the species range and associated population declines are likely to continue as drought frequency and intensity continues as a result of climate change (Abell et al.; 2006).
At the site studied by Vernes (2000); small scale; low intensity fire had no impact on the location or use of individuals home ranges.
Individuals sought shelter under boulders which are common at the site it is noted that the impacts of fire may be different elsewhere; particularly at sites on rhyolite (much of the Coane Range population) where boulders are rare.
Threat factor Threat type Evidence base and status Fire Low fire known The eucalypt forest and woodland preferred by northern frequency and current bettongs supports a higher biomass of truffles; cockatoo intensity grass and lilies than wetter forest types (Abell et al.; 2006).
A lack of fire (low fire frequency and or intensity) allows rainforest species to dominate the understorey; shading out the groundcover resources required by the northern bettong (Abell et al.; 2006).
Fire frequency and intensity must be based on sound scientific evidence.