Potorous longipeslong-footed potoroo

Geographic Range

Only found in the forests of south-eastern Australia. Specifically, forests of East Gippsland, north-eastern Victoria south of Mount Buffalo, and south-eastern New South Wales.


Mostly found in a range of predominantly "wetter" forest types, from wet sclerophyll forests at an altitude of 800m to lowland sclerophyll forests and warm temperate rainforest at 150m. Limited to areas with high soil moisture content throughout the year (because of ecology of food items) and areas with densely vegetated locations for shelter. Most Long-footed Potoroos are found in sites with an average annual rainfall of 1100 to 1200mm (43 to 47in).

Physical Description

Potoroos are small kangaroos also called "rat-kangaroos." Males are most often heavier than females. About the size of a rabbit (700 mm, of which 300 mm is the tail), Potorous longipes can be distinguished from other potoroos by its long back feet and toes. Members of the species also have strong front feet and claws. The fur is dense, with a soft grey-brown color that is paler on the stomach and feet.

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • male larger
  • Range mass
    1 to 2 kg
    2.20 to 4.41 lb


Most young are born in the winter, spring, and early summer, but the Long-footed Potoroo likely breeds throughout the year. There can be several litters per year (1 young per litter), with the average being 2.5 to 3 young per year. Young remain in the pouch for 140 to 150 days.

  • Key Reproductive Features
  • gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
  • sexual
  • Average number of offspring
  • Average gestation period
    38 days
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    Sex: female
    755 days


  • Average lifespan
    Status: captivity
    15.3 years


Terrestrial animal that obtains its food by digging conical pits with its forefeet. It is nocturnal and shelters in dense vegetation (ferns or thickets of wire grass) during the day to avoid predators.

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

Obligate fungivore, feeding on the fruiting bodies of more than 30 species of underground fungi, which grow in association with tree roots. Occasionally insects, seeds, and other plant materials become a part of the diet, which is 80% fungi. Feeding locations are easily identified by small, cone-shaped holes, dug in search of fungi.

Conservation Status

Populations are threatened by habitat loss or fragmentation caused by logging and road construction associated with logging. Wildfire and fuel-reduction burning practices also threaten populations. Introduced predators, including the Red Fox, Dingo, and feral Dog, are important causes of mortality of the Long-footed Potoroo. Conservation efforts are being made by the Department of Natural Resources and Environment in Australia. These efforts include careful management in National Parks (2 known populations in Snowy River National Park), establishment of special management areas, predator control in management areas, long-term monitoring of populations, and public education about the Long-footed Potoroo.


Mark Irwin (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (editor), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.



Living in Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, New Guinea and associated islands.

World Map

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


uses touch to communicate


March 1998. "Action Statement No.58-Long-footed Potoroo" (On-line). Accessed October 11, 1999 at http://www.dce.vic.gov.au/plntanml/native/actstats/contents/as58.htm.

May 1999. "Animal Info-Long-footed Potoroo" (On-line). Accessed October 11, 1999 at http://www.animalinfo.org/species/potolong.htm.

Hoser, R.T., 1991. Endangered Animals of Australia. Mosman, N.S.W.: Pierson & Co..