The only known area where Gilbert's potoroos live today is on the South Coast of Western Australia.
36cm (males slightly larger). Average weight 1kg.
Potoroos are small rat kangaroos bearing some resemblance to bandicoots. They have a densely furred body, and long hind feet with long, curved claws on the front feet that they use to dig for food. Males and females are similar in body size. The eyes appear to look obliquely upward.
With an estimated wild population of less than 30 animals, the Gilbert's potoroo is Australia's rarest mammal, occuring in small, restricted pockets in Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve, Western Australia.
They inhabit low, dense heath containing many small patches of open ground.
They feed mainly on mycorrhizal fungi (a common dietary item of other species of potoroo).
They are nocturnal. Little is known of their social behaviour. Studies have shown that they may travel up to a kilometre from their daytime shelters while foraging and return to the same area each morning.
Females become sexually mature by the end of their first year and males may breed before the end of their second year. Breeding may occur throughout the year and there is some evidence to suggest that Gilbertís potoroo may have a monogamous breeding system. The gestation period is not known but is believed to be shorter than the 38 days for the long-nosed potoroo (P.Tridactylus). The length of pouch life is probably about 4 months (Same as long-nosed potoroo). The young remain in the pouch until they are about 190g in weight.
Gilbert's potoroos are listed as Critically Endangered. Predation by foxes and cats, and changed fire regimes resulting in a loss of dense vegetation may all be to blame for the decline in Gilbert's Potoroo.
Gilbertís potoroo was rediscovered in 1994 after having been considered extinct for over 100 years. The Gilbert's Potoroo was originally found at King George's Sound in Western Australia. It was described in 1840 by John Gilbert. Remains have also been found between Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste, two locations also found in Western Australia.
Best place to see
Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve.
Long-nosed potoroo (P.Tridactylus).