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I know that you’re there…

August 14, 2017

and I know what you’ve eaten.

During winter many birds and animals are rarely seen because they are sheltering from the cold and wet. Regular readers will notice a decrease in the frequency of these blogs for this reason, and because the authors are also hiding away from the elements. But you don’t need to see the fauna to know that they are there.

The wildlife still have to eat and drink. So for the nerds amongst us with a motion-sensing camera, positioning it in the right spot will reveal the unseen action that happens during the breaks in the weather (see picture left of a Brush-tailed Phascogale).
Examination of washouts of sand or clay after the rain will reveal footprints that characterise the birds and animals that have passed by. Pictured right are the front paw prints of a Swamp Wallaby (Wallabia bicolor) and, slightly to the left of those, the characteristic long toe print and toenail impression of the back leg.

Diggings in the ground indicate where hungry animals have foraged for roots, insects and their larvae. The photo left shows (sort of) the conical hole and nose print of a bandicoot digging. Similar nose prints but a different shaped hole would indicate an echidna had been there.

And finally let’s talk about poo – scats to be more precise if you are talking about fauna. The shape and size of scats are indicative of the animals that produced them. A walk through the bush with eyes fixed on the ground will reveal wombat, kangaroo and possum scats everywhere. And if you break the scat up it will reveal information about what the animal has eaten.

The photo right is of a fox or dog scat typified by the cylindrical shape with a pinched end. I have no idea what has been eaten but foxes regularly eat berries to supplement their diet.

To work out the ingredients a person would need to employ the chew and taste test…but that person is not me.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Valerie permalink
    August 14, 2017 8:46 am

    Another fabulously informative and amusing piece. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled.

  2. August 14, 2017 4:57 pm

    It looks too pretty not to taste, but I am with you! Great articles to read. Love them.

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