Rufous Bettong – not a rat!

cairns wildlife

The Rufous Bettong is a very cute little creature, unfortunately mistaken for a rat quite often!

We love our bettong, Timone, here at Cairns ZOOM. He’s a very friendly little guy, although you might not spot him when you visit us. Did you know that bettongs are nocturnal?

They spend their days asleep, so they make nests out of straw, grass or hay covering a depression in the ground. These nests can be very well camouflaged – people have been known to step on them, not realising they’re home to an animal!

Night time is when the bettongs are most active. They forage for food and collect nesting materials – they are keen renovators and like to keep their nests updated regularly.

They carry the nesting materials using their tail, interestingly – they use their teeth to cut the grass to the right size, and then their forearms to gather the nesting materials into a pile, which they scrape underneath themselves to wrap around their tail for transport. Pretty clever!

Bettongs eat a wide variety of food, including grass, most fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, mushrooms and even live food – including insects!