Today I’m profiling three native species that have probably been in your Australian garden but it’s unlikely you’ve actually seen them. Nocturnal bandicoots inspire both delight and horror among gardeners; broad-tailed geckos are so well camouflaged, you might not even see one that’s close by; and microbats are the tiny cuties of an animal that fill some people with irrational fear.
BANDICOOTS with Sue Stevens
Most Australians would have you believe that they know what dug those holes in their lawn. Some say it’s lawn grubs, others say it’s worms coming up for air and leaving piles of dirt.
Bandicoot isn’t what comes to mind when these gardeners see fresh conical shaped holes with teaspoon sized piles of dirt in their lawn every morning. Would you believe that most Australians have never actually seen a bandicoot!
Let’s find out what about these piles of dirt and holes….
Bandicoots eat spiders, cockroaches, a variety of insects, snails and most importantly their favourite food – the black beetle & beetle larva known as curl grubs. These grubs feed on the root system of your lawn causing dieback or brown patches.
Bandicoots are effectively aerating your lawn so that it will grow with renewed vigour during spring. Bandicoots cause no long-term damage and are beneficial to lawns and gardens.
Remember that Bandicoots are protected and are currently under threat due to both habitat loss and predation. If you live in a bandicoot territory and you have a suitable food source, you will have bandicoots in your yard.
Once the food source has gone, they will move on.
MICROBATS with Katie Oxenham
They’re probably hibernating right now, and they’re definitely nothing to be scared of. There’s too many myths and legends about bats of all kinds and mostly untrue and unkind.
The greatest harm to bats is not knowing anything about them, and this creates fears and hatred towards them, some say, even possible extinction because they’re now regarded as a vulnerable species.
My brother in law has a sheep farm in South Australia and also has been planting plenty of trees on his property. One day, he was leaning back on his kitchen chair having a morning cuppa when it seemed to squeak unnaturally. He leant forward and tried again, squea-a-a-k? He turned around to find a microbat was hanging off the chair and he was nearly squashing it. Being a friendly sort of fella, he put little batkins outside.
Let’s find out a bit more about these little creatures and for more information about microbats see: Ausbats.org
BROAD-TAILED GECKO with Kurtis Lindesay
What do you know about lizards, skinks, and geckos?
Where do they live, what do they eat? Do they hibernate or live in warm climates only? Are reptiles nocturnal or diurnal? Are they good to have in the garden? How does one attract them to the garden?
Well you might not have this particular reptile in your neighbourhood, but my guest presenter Katie Oxenham sure knows all about them. Listen to this segment about the Broad Tailed Gecko….