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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 6

21. Bettongia Graii. — Gray's Jerboa Kangaroo. — Booming of the Murray natives

21. Bettongia Graii.

Gray's Jerboa Kangaroo.

Booming of the Murray natives.

This burrowing Bettongia has long retreated before the herds of cattle with winch the plains bordering on the Murray are now stocked; and it is no longer to be found south of that river, so, at least, the natives assured me, and whenever we went out hunting for it, we always had to cross to the New South Wales side.

Not a single specimen of my collection was procured in Victoria. Although this species is constantly furnished with a brush of white hairs at the end of the tail, I consider it identical with Gould's B. Graii, in which the white mark is wanting.

It is a truly nocturnal animal, which always leaves its burrow long after the sun is down, in fact, never before it is quite dark. I often watched near their holes, gun in hand, listening to their peculiar call; but I always had great difficulty in procuring specimens, as they are very shy, and hardly to be distinguished from the surrounding objects.

The best plan is always to dig them out; an operation in which the black-fellows are very expert, though it is rather tedious work; the holes running into each other, and being page 22 sometimes ten feet deep; and several shafts may have to be sunk, before a couple of "Boomings" can be secured.

I have often seen several acres of ground covered with their holes.

I have no doubt that this, and, perhaps, many of the other species, breeds several times during the year, but brings forth one young only. The pouch of the female is furnished with 4 teats.

It is difficult to keep them in captivity, as they are very wild indeed; and either escape by a burrow, or kill themselves in running their heads against the enclosure.

These are all the Marsupial animals proper which I have observed; it will however be necessary to say a few words about the sub-class of the Marsupial Group, the Monotremata, which is represented by the following species.