Species Profile and Threats Database

For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Listed as Extinct
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Policy Statements and Guidelines Survey guidelines for Australia's threatened mammals. EPBC Act survey guidelines 6.5 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2011j) [Admin Guideline].
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Declaration under s178, s181, and s183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - List of threatened species, List of threatened ecological communities and List of threatening processes (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000) [Legislative Instrument].
State Government
    Documents and Websites
NT:Threatened Species of the Northern Territory - Burrowing bettong (inland subspecies), Boodie Bettongia lesueur graii (Pavey, C., 2006d) [Information Sheet].
WA:Fauna Species Profiles - Burrowing Bettong (Boodie) Bettongia lesueur (Quoy and Gaimard, 1824) (Western Australia Department of Environment and Conservation (WA DEC), 2010e) [Information Sheet].
    Documents and Websites
The action plan for threatened Australian macropods 2011-2021 (World Wildlife Fund for Nature - Australia (WWF), 2011).
State Listing Status
NSW: Listed as Extinct (Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (New South Wales): August 2014 list)
NT: Listed as Extinct* (Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 2000 (Northern Territory): 2012 list)
SA: Listed as Endangered* (National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 (South Australia): June 2011 list)
Scientific name Bettongia lesueur graii [66657]
Family Potoroidae:Diprotodonta:Mammalia:Chordata:Animalia
Species author  
Infraspecies author  
Distribution map Species Distribution Map not available for this taxon.
Illustrations Google Images

South Australia: At the species level, Bettongia lesueur is listed as Endangered under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972.

Northern Territory: At the species level, Bettongia lesueur is listed as Extinct under the Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 2000.

Scientific name: Bettongia lesueur graii

Common name: Burrowing Bettong (inland)

Other names: Boodie

The largest of the bettongs, the Burrowing Bettong (inland) was yellow-grey on its back and light grey on the belly with a lightly haired, fattened tail (Flannery 1990g). In some regions the tail had a white tip. A pale, indistinct hip stripe was usually present. The ears were shorter and more rounded than in other bettong species. The head-body length was 28–40 cm, with the tail adding an additional 22–30 cm. The species generally weighed about 1.3 kg but could be as heavy as 2 kg (Flannery 1990g).

The Burrowing Bettong (inland) was very vocal and made a variety of squeals, hisses and grunts. These animals moved in a bipedal fashion, not making use of their tail or fore-limbs for support, except when stationary (Flannery 1990g).

The Burrowing Bettong (inland) was once common over a large part of Australia, from west of the Great Dividing Range to coastal Western Australia. Thus this species had one of the greatest geographical ranges of any Australian mammal.

The Burrowing Bettong (inland) had disappeared from Victoria and NSW by the 1860s and from south-western Australia by the 1930s. However, it persisted until at least the 1940s in some central desert areas (Flannery 1990g).

The Burrowing Bettong (inland) was once so abundant in South Australia that Jones related how they were a constant annoyance to rabbiters, who continually found them sharing warrens with rabbits (Jones 1924).

The habitat of the Burrowing Bettong (inland) ranged from open eucalypt or acacia woodland with a grass and shrub understorey to sandridge desert with spinifex hummocks and sparse shrubs (Flannery 1990g).

Burrows were constructed in many types of soil although loams were favoured. In sandridge deserts the burrows were situated in the damp low-lying areas between dunes. Outcrops of limestone or gypseous rock and rises in salt-lake systems were other favoured habitats. In rocky areas, the burrows could be situated under boulders (Flannery 1990g).

The Burrowing Bettong (inland) was known to breed throughout the year and could rear as many as three successive young in a year. The estrous cycle of the female was a comparatively short 23 days, while gestation took approximately 21 days. Like many other Potoroidae, the Burrowing Bettong (inland) had 'embryonic diapause'. This allowed another young to be born 20 days after a juvenile left the pouch. The young left the pouch at about four months of age but were not weaned for a further three to ten weeks. Sexual maturity was attained within a year (Flannery 1990g).

The burrows of the Burrowing Bettong (inland) varied considerably. They could be a simple structure with only one or two entrances and a short, curving tunnel, or a large warren with more than 100 entrances. One of these warrens could house more than 50 individuals. Nests made of vegetation could be found within the burrow system (Flannery 1990g).

The Burrowing Bettong (inland) was strictly nocturnal (Flannery 1990g).

Rabbits, foxes and the use of poisoned grain have been blamed for the decline of the Burrowing Bettong (inland) (Jones 1924).

The disappearance of the species occurred at the same time as the widespread establishment of the fox and cat, which hunted and ate them. Rabbits also played a part in their decline by competing with the bettong for food and shelter (Arid Recovery 2007).

Due to the species habit of consuming crops, it was typical for the Burrowing Bettong (inland) to be shot. In addition, agricultural practices (such as establishing crops and pastures) removed much of this species preferred habitat (Arid Recovery 2007).

The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.

Threat Class Threatening Species References
Uncategorised:Uncategorised:threats not specified Bettongia lesueur graiiin Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006ce) [Internet].

Arid Recovery (2007). Restoring Australia's arid lands: Burrowing Bettong. [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 18-Jun-2007].

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC) (2011j). Survey guidelines for Australia's threatened mammals. EPBC Act survey guidelines 6.5. [Online]. EPBC Act policy statement: Canberra, ACT: DSEWPAC. Available from:

Flannery, T. (1990g). Australia's vanishing mammals - endangered and extinct native species: Burrowing Bettong. Readers Digest Press. Page(s) 97-101.

Gould, J. (1863). The Mammals of Australia. London, England: published privately.

Jones, W. (1924). The Mammals of South Australia. Parts 1-3. Adelaide, South Australia: Government Printer.

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This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Bettongia lesueur graii in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Mon, 22 Sep 2014 06:01:12 +1000.