The northern bettong is a nocturnal animal, which spends the day resting in a well-disguised nest built of grass and vegetation, commonly dug into a shallow hole in the ground. During the night, it may travel large distances in order to locate the broadly dispersed truffles (edible fruiting bodies of fungi) which constitute 45 percent of its diet. Cockatoo grass (Alloteropsis semialata) is another important component of the northern bettong’s diet, and it will also feed on other grasses and fungi, as well as a wide variety of leaves, seeds, insects and tubers (1).
A solitary animal, the northern bettong occupies a large home range, containing three or four nest sites which the bettong moves between. Males typically occupy a ‘core’ home range of 72 hectares, while females occupy a smaller 49 hectares, and home ranges typically overlap (8).
The northern bettong may breed at any time of year, regardless of the season (9). Females produce two to three litters every year, with a single young born per litter after a gestation period of about 21 days. Like all marsupials, the young is very undeveloped at birth and continues its development in the protection of the mother’s pouch, where it remains for 110 to 115 days. Female northern bettongs reach sexual maturity at around 11 months of age, while males reach maturity later, at around 14 months (10). Life expectancy is approximately six years (6).