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Posted by Gran

January 28, 2017

Ask Gran

I live way out in the middle of Australia, in one of the two places bilbies still nibble and dig.

It’s pretty quiet out there at Spinifex Plains, with grass wrens singing through the day and curlews calling mournfully at night. Not a galah or yabbering human to be heard.

Hard, spiky spinifex grass grows in clumps on the red sand and clay across much of the country I call home.

Spinifex

Most spinifex  grows in tidy clumps, some kinds  small and round, others growing into wide, prickly rings. You don’t want to sit on any kind of spinifex, even with thick moleskin trousers on!

Not even dingoes want to go near those spikes, so spinifex clumps makes safe homes for heaps of small native creatures. Small birds make their nests high in the middle so cats and foxes can’t get near. Mice and lizards burrow underneath and no one wants to dig them out. It is very important to many of our small desert friends.

Life would still be great for all of us out on Spinifex Plains, if it wasn’t for those introduced cats, rabbits, foxes and camels.

Cats are always out there, hunting and killing everything they can catch from insects to lizards, birds, native mice and bilbies.

Rabbits and foxes come and go but make too much trouble when they’re here.

Camels come and go as well but need so much tucker! They eat grasses, herbs and small bushes as well as many shrubs and trees. No one thought they would have so many babies but good rains once fell across our deserts for years

Enough gabber from me now. I found the tracks where a big cat has caught two of our Mulga Rise hopping mice.  One of them might have been little Alexis with the crooked tail. I’m off to set some traps!

If you want to ask me any questions send an email to gran@nullkayekessing.com


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Posted by Bilby

September 18, 2013

Bilby’s Blog

I’m a bilby or Pink-eared Bandicoot and there’s not many of us left.

Bandicoots are furry marsupials any size from a rat to a rabbit and mostly with long noses and short tails.

Bilbies are the only bandicoots that burrow and are about the size of rabbits, although I hate to say that word again!

Our front claws are strong, to burrow and search for food. Two fine claws on our back feet make combs to keep our soft grey and white fur looking good.

Bilbies have the biggest ears and the longest tails of all bandicoots. Our tall curved ears are bare and pink. Our tails are black with a fluffy white tail-tuft on the end, pretty deadly!

Australia is the only place bilbies live. We used to dig and burrow across most of the drier parts but now we’re only found in two of the very driest places. Don’t get me started on why!

Bilbies are always digging: small holes for bulbs, fungi, termites and grubs, or deep spiralling burrows to escape down.

Well, that’s enough from me for now.

If you’ve got any questions I’ll try to answer them as best I can, or you can ask Gran.

Chuditch, Mala, Numbat and Sticky have said a bit below about themselves.


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Posted by Chuditch

September 18, 2013

Chuditch Chats

Hey, I’m Chuditch the Western Quoll, with  a creamy-white belly and a dark brown back that is covered with deadly-white spots.

Wayback, we hunted everywhere in Australia except across the driest parts of the centre. Today we are only found in the far south-west corner.

Feral cats and foxes eat our food and have taken over our home ranges.

Quolls are hunters too but we only kill for food – not for fun like cats do. If you find a bird with just its tongue bitten out you can be sure there’s a cat about!

I mostly eat insects but also birds, lizards, frogs and dead meat. Eggs are the very best! If there’s no water around to drink I have to get enough moisture from blood or body juices.

Cats are the same which is why they live everywhere, even across Australia’s driest deserts.

Where ever you go you’ll find cats, instead of quolls.


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Posted by Mala

September 18, 2013

It’s me, Mala

I’m a rufous hare-wallaby or mala and we look like fluffy little kangaroos.

Mala used to nibble through the driest spinifex deserts, across  the western side of Australia.

Now none of us live in the wild anymore.

I grew up in The Mala Paddock, way out in the dry Tanami Desert. Humans had built a big fence to keep us safe, near the last place mala once lived.

Cats, foxes and dingodogs could not get inside to kill us, so many babies were born and stayed alive.

One year in big rains  part of the fence was washed away. No humans could get near to fix it so cats and foxes came inside and killed nearly every mala except me.

I hopped far across the deserts looking for other creatures of my fur, until I found Bilby and Chuditch.

They’re my best friends now but it would be great to find another mala, somewhere.


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Posted by Numbat

September 18, 2013

Numbat Speaks

I am called a numbat and sometimes a banded anteater, even though we only eat ants when they get mixed up with termites by mistake.

I am small with red-brown to dark grey fur and many white stripes across my back. My tail is furry and stiffens like a bottlebrush when I am frightened or cross.

I have good strong claws, although I cannot dig into termite mounds like Bilby. Instead, I sniff out the shallow tunnels that termite workers build then travel along, to fetch food for the other the termites in their mound. I break the tunnels open then lick up the termites with my long, sticky tongue.

Unlike the others I search for food by day and sleep at night in hollow logs or old burrows. I must watch out for foxes, cats, eagles, hawks, snakes and goannas.

Before foxes, cats and humans came, numbats lived across the bottom half of Australia, especially in the west. Now we only live wild in the south-western corner of Western Australia.

I am committed to seeing numbats scratch and dart again, all over the country they once knew.


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Posted by Sticky

September 18, 2013

Sticky Squeaks

I am Sticky the Greater Stick-nest Rat who went across Australia and learnt so much with Bilby, Mala, Chuditch, and Numbat.

I’m the same shape as those feral black  rats but with much prettier yellow-brown fur and a white patch on each back foot. Wait until you see the big stick-nests we build!

I was living all alone in our big nest of sticks that Mum and Dad had built before they were eaten. If a fox or cat had caught me, there would have been no stick-rats left in our home range.

When our nest was wrecked by feral horses, I thought I might as well go with the others, and maybe find another of my kind. But the only stick-nest rat we found was eaten by a fox and we had to listen!

There were once heaps of us across the drier parts of Southern Australia. Now rabbits, camels, sheep and cattle eat our tucker and cats and foxes eat us.