Woylie What is a Woylie?

The woylie is a small nocturnal marsupial about 36cm in body length (its tail adds another 30cm) and weighing around 1.8kg. It is also known as the brush-tailed bettong or brush-tailed rat-kangaroo. The woylie was once abundant across southern Australia. Today their total population is estimated at 10,000-20,000 animals.

Scientific name: Bettongia penicillata ogilbyi

Woylie – Description What Does A Woylie Look Like?

The woylie has greyish-brown fur. It has a long fury prehensile tail tipped with a black brush at the end. The woylie uses its tail as an extra limb- it wraps its tail around a bundle of nesting material and carries it home to build its dome-shaped nest. Females are slightly smaller than males.

Woylie - Habitat & Distribution Where Do Woylies Live?

In the past, the woylie inhabited around 60% of the Australian mainland covering the south-west of Eastern Australia, most of South Australia, the north-west corner of Victoria, and portions of central New South Wales. European settlers cleared extensive areas of southern Australia for agriculture, and millions of woylies were killed as pests and captured and skinned for the fur trade.

Today the woylie lives in open sclerophyll forests and Mallee eucalyptus woodlands with a dense low understory of scrub and grassland.

Woylie - Diet What Does a Woylie Eat?

The woylie is primarily a nocturnal foraging fungivore. That is, it searches for food at night, and its diet is mostly underground fungi (truffles). Using its sensitive snout to identify ripe fruiting fungi underground, the woylie uses its sharp fore-claws to dig out its food. It occasionally also eats seeds.

The woylie’s active digging is beneficial to its habitat. By digging holes, it helps water in seeping into the ground, and the spores of the fungi it consumes pass undamaged through its gut to be dispersed around the forest in woylie scats (droppings). As fungi help plants to grow, woylies play an essential role in maintaining the health and of native vegetation.

Woylie - Reproduction & Life Cycle What Does a Woylie Eat?

The Woylie can breed throughout the year, usually giving birth to one offspring at a time. It can have as many as three litters a year- an average of three babies a year. Like all marsupials, it gives birth to a tiny underdeveloped baby that crawls out from the mother’s birth canal and into her pouch, where it remains for nearly four months.

How Marsupials have Babies – It is Amazing

The average lifespan of a woylie is 6-8 years.

Woylie- Threats & Conservation Status

Their decline is a result human induced grazing animals, agriculture and land clearing, predation by feral cats, foxes, and rabbits introduced by European settlers.

Today their total population is estimated at 10,000-20,000 animals. They are clasified as critically endangered.

Introduced Australian Animals — Animals Brought by European Settlers