The Musky Rat Kangaroo (Hypsiprymnodon moschatus), meaning “musky high hindmost teeth” in latin is a primitive marsupial and the last living member of its family. If you are in the north coastal rainforests of Australia and you get a strong whiff of piss, this little possum resembling creature is probably close by. They are in fact, closer to possums than kangaroos in this order called Diprotodontia. They have a similar great toe on the hind feet and a system of gripping grooves on its foot pads.
They are chocolate brown in color and quite tiny at about 30 cm long, with a 10 cm long hairless tail, and weigh between 300 to 500 gms, as seen below.
What’s so special about the Musky rat Kangaroo?
This animal is special because it lives on the forest floor and eats mostly fruit and seed of trees. It has a wide range and is crucial to the forest trees for seed dispersal. It is one of the very few marsupials to be active during the day and sleep at night. It is also known for its bounding gait, more like a rabbit than the hopping of a true kangaroo. The females also give birth to two joeys as opposed to kangaroos where one joey is the norm.