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Musky Rat-Kangaroo: Hypsiprymnodontidae

Behavior And Reproduction

Musky rat-kangaroos are diurnal, which means that they are active during the day. They are the only species in this order that is completely active during the day. At night musky Musky rat-kangaroos are active during the day and sleep in their nests at night. Most other marsupials are active at night. (Dave Watts/Naturepl.com. Reproduced by permission.) rat-kangaroos sleep in nests. They also may return to their nests to keep cool during the hottest part of the day. To build their nests musky rat-kangaroos use their tails to pick up leaves and other items. They can curl their tails around what they want to hold and carry it back to their nests. This kind of flexible grasping tail is called a prehensile tail. They take the nest materials to clumps of vines or where two tree roots come together and make their nests there.

Instead of hopping on its two hind legs the way many other rat-kangaroos do, the musky rat-kangaroo moves by using all four legs. Consequently, its front and hind legs are kangaroos. Musky rat-kangaroos have been seen climbing trees, but little is known about why they do this.

Musky rat-kangaroos are thought to live and hunt for food primarily alone, although one scientist reported having seen up to three musky rat-kangaroos feeding in the same place. In the wild, they do not appear to be territorial, meaning that they do not defend an area that they consider to be theirs. When musky rat-kangaroos are kept in captivity, male/female relationships must be taken into consideration. Only one male can be kept in a cage at a time, but two females can be kept together. It is also possible for one male to share a space with more than one female. Little research has been done on how musky rat-kangaroos interact with each other.

Musky rat-kangaroos usually mate between February and July. They normally have two offspring at a time, although they sometimes have three. Like all marsupials, the young are born tiny, blind, hairless, and very immature. The young are not able to fend for themselves and must crawl over their mother's fur and into her pouch. In her pouch they attach themselves to a nipple and spend the next twenty-one weeks in the pouch as they grow and develop. After the young leave the pouch they usually spend time in the nest for another few weeks before they begin to leave the nest and follow their mother.

During the period of time in which a young musky rat-kangaroo follows its mother around the outside of the nest, it is known as a "young-at-foot" (sometimes also called a "young-at-heel"). It is not allowed to return to the pouch, although it is still allowed to suckle (nurse). The young continue to grow and mature, eventually leaving their mothers to go off on their own.

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Animal Life ResourceMammalsMusky Rat-Kangaroo: Hypsiprymnodontidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, MUSKY RAT-KANGAROOS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS