One of Potoroo Palace’s newest arrivals is “Nigel” a Rufous Bettong (Aepyprymnus rufescens -meaning ‘reddish high-rump’) and from the same family as that of the potoroo, except that he will grow to be larger. Nigel arrived at Potoroo Palace at the end of October 2014. He is now about 14 months of age and was raised in captivity locally as part of a Bettong Breeding Project which has been a long-time dream of Rob High’s; the owner of the Merimbula based holiday resort, Mandeni. Now this dream has been successfully actualized, and Nigel was generously donated to Potoroo Palace where he can show visitors how special and beautiful he is and assist keepers in sharing just how important the bettong’s role is within the natural environment.
During the day he stays tucked away in grassy nests within his enclosure but as soon as food is presented he scurries out to delve into his bowl of tasty delights, showing plenty of enthusiasm and a very healthy appetite! He can sometimes be seen peeking out through the fence inquisitively watching people. He has settled nicely into his new home and his photogenic qualities have been discovered and appreciated by many of the staff.
As with other members of this family there has been a dramatic reduction in the bettong’s distribution and numbers, but due to low intensity land-use practices throughout the bettong’s range, they have remained quite common and occupy a variety of habitats along much of the eastern coastal areas.
Already, Potoroo Palace staff have fallen head over heels for Nigel and it is always with much delight that he is served his food at meal times. Staff look forward to seeing his unique personality revealed a little more each day and to showing him off to the public on the Educational Talks, teaching visitors all about him; the adorable Rufous Bettong.