Who’s in the Poo?
A project to collect and analyse animal scat samples from Venus Bay Conservation Park is providing valuable research on the habits of feral animals in the park.
Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula Project Officer, Tayla Bowden said scats have been collected on an ongoing basis since 2006 and their contents analysed to uncover the diets of feral predators.
“Most of the scats collected were feral cat scats with few fox scats found,” she said.
“The analysis of hair found in the feral cat scats identified their main food source or prey was rabbits followed closely by mice and birds.
“Also of interest was a cat scat that contained traces of the Fat-tailed Dunnart.”
Ms Bowden said the Fat-tailed Dunnart is a species of marsupial native to Australia, which resembles a mouse but is actually more closely related to the quoll and the Tasmanian devil.
“Also found in the scats were a number of traces of bone fragments, but it is unknown what species the bone belong to.
“It is possible they were from reintroduced bilbies and bettongs present in the park. However, assumptions are limited due to the small sample size.
“Foxes were found to have eaten western grey kangaroos.
“Currently more scats are being collected for further investigation.”
Ms Bowden said the results emphasise the need to keep up feral animal control in the park.
“It is good to know that these little Fat-tailed Dunnart were still present in the park when the scats were collected,” she said.
”We are increasing efforts to control feral cats inside Venus Bay Conservation Park to try and lessen their impact on our native species present in the park, such as the Greater Bilby, Brush-tailed Bettong and Fat-tailed Dunnart.
Find out more information on native species or call the Streaky Bay office on 86261108