QUENDAS are useful for our urban bushland according to new research from Edith Cowan University, which found their poo is full of helpful fungi.
Teaming up with scientists from Murdoch and UWA, lead researcher Anna Hopkins said they were surprised to find quenda poo in smaller bushland areas contained a larger variety of fungi.
“Our findings could indicate that quenda in those smaller areas of bushland are venturing out into gardens, yards or even bins and rubbish surrounding their native habitats,” she said.
“We know quenda perform an incredibly important role as ecosystem engineers, digging, eating and spreading important fungi throughout the native bushland we have around Perth.
“The wide variety of fungi we found is great news for our gardens, as it indicates quenda are venturing into gardens around their native habitats to search for food.
“The travelling quenda disperse the fungi through their droppings, which make their way into the soil to colonise plant roots, and can then help the plants absorb nutrients and water.”
She said the small marsupials, which are part of the bandicoot family, “provide this visible and accessible link with the health of the bushland. People can see them and see their digging and evidence of them all around the bushland here in Perth, and even in our backyards”.
Evidence of a quenda in your garden or local park can be seen in conical holes that mirror the shape of their head alongside the heaps of dirt they excavate.
They can be encouraged into your garden by planting dense, native vegetation.
“One of their favourite habitats is the skirts of grass trees, they’ll shelter there during the day and create little paths to move around,” Dr Hopkins says.
“You can also help by keeping your cats inside at night-time.”