The forests, woodlands and grasslands of the ACT region support a diversity of native and introduced mammals, including arboreal marsupials, relatively large grazing marsupials, smaller ground-dwelling mammals, and bats. Some of these mammals can be found in the bushlands and grasslands within the urban fabric of Canberra, and some native species, such as the Common Brushtail Possum, have made our backyards their home as well.
Arboreal (i.e. tree-dwelling) marsupials include the Possums, Pygmy-possums, Gliders, Phascogales and Koala. The larger grazers include the Common (or Bare-nosed) Wombat and four local species of Macropod (the ubiquitous Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Wallaroo, Red-necked Wallaby and Swamp Wallaby). The Eastern Bettong, extinct in the ACT since the 1870s is a recent return to the region, having been re-introduced from Tasmania to Mulligan’s Flat Sanctuary, with plans to establish wild populations outside the sanctuary fence.
Young Swamp Wallabies are sometimes mistaken for the Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby, though the latter has not been seen in the ACT since the 1950s and is presumed to be extinct in the wild in the region (Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve has a captive population). From prey remains under eagle nests and a single road-killed specimen, it is possible that populations of at least one Bandicoot species occur in the ACT region.
Smaller ground-dwelling mammals include the two monotremes (Echidna and Platypus), the carnivorous Dasyurids (Quolls, Antechinus and Dunnarts) and native rodents (Bush Rat, Water Rat and Broad-toothed Rat). The threatened Smoky Mouse has not been recorded in the ACT since the 1980s (from montane heath habitats high in Namadgi National Park) though the species may still occur in Namadgi National Park at low density. At least twelve bat species occur in the ACT, including two species of Flying-fox which usually vacate the ACT during the cooler months.
Dingoes (and hybrids between Dingoes and domestic dogs) live in the wild in the ACT region, and whilst a nuisance to graziers they also perform the valuable role of top predator in natural ecosystems. Non-native wild mammals include three species of Deer, Pigs, Foxes, feral Cats and rodents (European Rabbit, European Hare, Black Rat, Brown Rat, House Mouse). Horses are intermittently present in higher areas of Namadgi National Park close to adjacent NSW National Parks where populations of wild horses occur.
Moderators for mammals are Murray Evans and Michael Mulvaney (Ecologists with the ACT Government).
Here at CNM we are constantly surprised at the high quality of photos submitted, many are of publication standard. We look forward to seeing many more! Please keep in mind that rodents in particular can be difficult to tell apart in photos, and so clear close-up photos that include the head, body and tail are most useful. Small bats are also difficult to identify and clear photos of the face and tail are important (note that it’s best not to handle small bats, to avoid injury to them and yourself).