Did You Know? 21 Incredible Musky Rat-Kangaroo Facts

To learn more about this animal, read these musky rat-kangaroo facts.

The musky rat-kangaroo, Hypsiprymnodon moschatus as it is scientifically known, belongs to the Hypsiprymnodontidae family and genus Hypsiprymnodon. It is known to be the smallest one of the macropods or the smallest marsupial, and this marsupial is mostly found in the northeastern range of Queensland, Australia. The types of habitat this rat-kangaroo species inhabit include tropical rainforests and near lakes and ponds. Their diet is considered omnivorous. The diet of this rat-kangaroo consists of berries, nuts, fallen fruits, roots, worms, and insects and it has been observed foraging on the forest floor. It has been seen that individuals gather around a fallen fruit or a number of fruits. The mating or breeding takes place around February and July, and the nest site is usually in the area where these animals take shelter, and the nests are roughly built. Two young ones are given birth to, and the young ones are known to leave the pouch after about 21 weeks. Not much is known about the role of a male in child-rearing. Sexual maturity in a female is reached later than one year. These animals have a rich brown colored pelage, and the underparts are paler, and the tail is known to be scaly and is not hairy. It is known to do all its regular activities on its four limbs. The length ranges from 15.7-19.7 in (399-500 mm). Captive specimens of this species are known to live for about four to six years. A fossil study has been done to understand this animal better.

It is quite interesting to know about this species of kangaroo, the musky rat-kangaroo, and if you are interested, read about the gopher and mongoose lemur too.

Musky Rat-Kangaroo

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Worms, Insects, nuts, fruits, seeds

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

Up to 1.5 lb (0.68 kg)

How long are they?

15.7-19.7 in (399-500 mm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?


Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Habitat loss

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Tropical rainforests


Northeastern Australia





Scientific Name

Hypsiprymnodon moschatus





Musky Rat-Kangaroo Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a musky rat-kangaroo?

The musky-rat kangaroo is a marsupial/kangaroo.

What class of animal does a musky rat-kangaroo belong to?

This species Hypsiprymnodon moschatus belongs to the class of mammals.

How many musky rat-kangaroos are there in the world?

There is no exact count or number of these rat-kangaroos that have been recorded or estimated.

Where does a musky rat-kangaroo live?

The population of this musky-rat kangaroo is distributed in Ingham, Queensland, to parts of Cooktown, Australia. This species is endemic to the northeastern range of Australia.

What is a musky rat-kangaroo's habitat?

These rat-kangaroos are known to inhabit tropical and tall rainforests at almost all elevations. The musky rat-kangaroo habitat, apart from forest types of habitats, includes or is found near lakes, creeks, damp areas, and rivers and can also be seen around fallen trees, branches, or logs.

Who do musky rat-kangaroos live with?

The musky rat-kangaroo, Hypsiprymnodon moschatus as it is scientifically known, is known to be a solitary animal.

How long does a musky rat-kangaroo live?

Not much information is available about the lifespan of the musky rat-kangaroo, but captive specimens have been recorded to live for about four to six years.

How do they reproduce?

The mating or breeding season of these rat-kangaroos takes place around February and July. The nest site is usually the place where the animal shelters and the nests are built roughly. Generally, two young ones are given birth to, and the young ones are known to leave the pouch after about 21 weeks. It is believed that the young ones stay or live in the nests for some more weeks. The role of a male in taking care of or rearing the young one is unknown. A female is known to reach sexual maturity at the age of slightly more than a year.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the musky rat-kangaroo is Least Concern.

Musky Rat-Kangaroo Fun Facts

What do musky rat-kangaroos look like?

These are small animals, and the pelage of this species is known to be uniform, and its color is brown or grayish, which seems to be rusty. They are known to have highlights all over their body, which appear to be reddish in color. This species is also known to have velvety underfur. The underside or underpart of this species is tan or paler in color as compared to the back. The tail of this rat-kangaroo is known to be scaly and not hairy. The ears of this animal are thin, dark, and round. The feet are known to be blackish. The claws of this rat-kangaroo are known to be weak and small in size and sometimes considered to be unequal. Females possess four mammae and a pouch that is well-developed. Unlike other macropods, this species has forelimbs and hindlimbs of a similar size. Females are slightly larger than males.

The size, color, and tail of this rat-kangaroo are some of its identifiable features.

How cute are they?

Some people consider this animal cute because of its small size.

How do they communicate?

Not much information is available about the communication of this species, but they are known to use chemical and tactile cues to perceive and communicate.

How big is a musky rat-kangaroo?

The musky rat-kangaroo size is known to be small, and their length ranges from 15.7-19.7 in (399-500 mm). These can be slightly larger than greater bilby and smaller than wombats.

How fast can a musky rat-kangaroo run?

The exact speed of these musky rat-kangaroos is unknown, but they are known to be fast as they are small agile creatures.

These rat-kangaroos do their regular activities on all four limbs. They make movement by bringing their hind legs ahead or forward and extending the body.

How much does a musky rat-kangaroo weigh?

The weight of the musky rat-kangaroo is up to 1.5 lb (0.68 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males of this species are known as boomers or bucks, while the females are referred to as doe or flyers.

What would you call a baby musky rat-kangaroo?

The young one or the newborn of this species is known as a joey.

What do they eat?

The musky rat-kangaroo diet is omnivorous and is known to feed on worms, insects such as grasshoppers, palm berries, and roots, and seeds. The musky rat-kangaroo is known to dig and turn over the debris to find food, and while eating, it sits on its haunches.

Are they dangerous?

It is not considered dangerous. However, it is believed that these rat-kangaroos are associated with parasitic species that sometimes also include internal organisms like tapeworm and roundworm, and others include ticks, lice, and mites.

Would they make a good pet?

Not much information is available about these animals as pets.

Did you know...

It has been observed that this species is only or most active during the day, and these habits or behavior of this species is known to differentiate them from the nocturnal habits or behavior of the rat-kangaroos like bettongs and potoroos in the family Potoroidae.

This member of the Hypsiprymnodontidae family was described in the late 19th century first.

The discovery and exploration of the fossil indicated a different lineage.

These rat-kangaroos are considered to be primitive morphologically.

These are known to have no predators as possible predators like cats, feral foxes, and dingoes are not found in tropical rainforests.

The Hypsiprymnodon moschatus is known to be a territorial species.

The venture range of males is around 0.8-4.2 ha, and that of females is up to 2.2 ha.

What is unique about the musky rat-kangaroo?

These are the smallest species of the macropods or the macropod order, and the tail of this species is known to be unusual as it is scaly. This species is also known to have a clawless first digit on its hind feet. It is believed that the other members or other species of the same genus do not have the first digit. It is believed that, unlike other rat-kangaroos, these kangaroos use all their four legs instead of just the hind legs to hop or move. They are also known to climb trees, but the reason is unknown.

Are musky rat-kangaroos endangered?

This species is not considered endangered, although it might be considered rare as its habitat, that is, rainforests, are known to be fragmented and rare.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our nutria facts and tree kangaroo facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Arizona mammal coloring pages.



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