Quenda quota

OFTEN eaten by cats and foxes and forced out of their habitat by urbanisation, a population of quendas still manages to survive in Lightning Swamp in Noranda.

Bayswater council is currently in the midst of a four week study of the little marsupial to ensure the population’s health.

Nocturnal and solitary critters who like to fight each other, they’re also known as the southern brown bandicoot and are sometimes mistaken for a rat in the darkness.

Along with introduced feral predators, they also get eaten by barn owls, snakes and even quolls, making for easy prey because they apparently make no effort to avoid those animals’ scents.

• Bayswater’s natural area officer Alex Devine looking as cute as the quenda, the Noongar name for the southern brown bandicoot.

Quendas are important for the ecosystem, because in digging up their favourite foods (bugs, spiders, fungi and worms) they also aerate the soil and help seeds to germinate.

You can sometimes tell they’ve been digging in your garden if you find small conical-shaped holes.

The existence of bandicoots is indicative of a healthy ecosystem, Bayswater mayor Dan Bull says

“Their presence highlights an area is likely home to a range of other species with similar needs, as well as those linked to them through the food chain.

“With the bandicoot population in Perth gradually under threat from development and land clearing we need to ensure we protect them.”

As part of the study the Lightning Swamp bandicoots will be microchipped and monitored: “This will assist us in determining if they are under threat and if we need to take steps to protect them.” Cr Bull says.

by DAVID BELL

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