I went camping last night at a secret little spot amongst the Karri trees in Boranup Forest. A beautiful evening under the stars, a warming campfire and a bottle of Edwards Cab Sauv made for some very contented campers.
Just after sunset we were joined by some similarly contented Southern Brown Nosed Bandicoot’s or Quenda as the local Aboriginal people know them
Bandicoots are multi-oestrus, meaning they breed at several times during the year, not just in one short season. Female bandicoots have very tiny babies, which are born after only 12 1/2 days’ gestation. This is believed to be the shortest gestation period of any mammal. The babies climb into the mother’s pouch the same way baby kangaroos do. They drink milk and grow, until they are big enough to come out of the pouch. When they are about three months old they can begin to live by themselves. Female bandicoots can have as many as five babies, but usually only one or two survive.
Bandicoot pouches are open at the back, not at the top like kangaroo pouches. Bandicoots spend most of their time on all four feet. They do a lot of digging. If the pouch opened at the top, it would get full of dirt, which wouldn’t be very nice for the baby bandicoots-also the extra cargo would slow down the bandicoot when she was running from a predator.
The Quenda is on the threatened list. Despite its listing it is a regular visitor to the Boranup Forest campsites showing little fear as they forage around picnic tables.
Expect to meet a Quenda or two on the Margaret River Discovery Company Overnight South West Adventure http://margaretriverdiscovery.wordpress.com/overnight-adventure/
Margaret River Discovery Tours
Sean Blocksidge is the owner operator of the Margaret River Discovery Company, an avid photographer, blogger and South West WA ambassador. In 2010 he won Western Australian Guide of the Year and his tours have been rated the #1 thing to do in Australia on the Tripadvisor website for the past two years.