Fauna in The Foothills


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Car drivers are urged to drive slowly and carefully at night when travelling around the foothills - especially at dusk.
Nature reserves, roadsides and bushland on private property provide suitable habitat for a variety of predominately nocturnal marsupials.
MAMMAL SCATS -  Mammals leave distinctive types of droppings in the areas where they have been seen feeding, so it is quite interesting to check out who was around during the night.
POSSUMS shelter in tree hollows in the day time - often in DEAD TREES. Even the smallest knot hole may be a home for sugar gliders. When a dead tree is being removed for safety purposes, bang loudly on it and check whether it is being used as a home. Part of the tree could be sawn up and placed securely into another tree close by as a replacement home.
INJURED ANIMALS are often found on roads or in gardens. If there is an obvious injury, they may be taken to one of the animal shelters.  See under "Horses, Cats & Dogs"  Injured animals should be placed in a box on something warm such as a woollen jumper or blanket. Covering the box to keep out the light will help to keep the animal quiet. Baby marsupials that have been orphaned will require additional warmth - usually from a hot water bottle.
BIRDS are sometimes stunned when they fly into a window. If you find a stunned bird, cover it with a small box, keep quiet for an hour or two, and sometimes they recover completely and fly away.   


Sugar Glider- shrill yapping alarm call. Tall forest and woodland with Acacias, leaf lined nest in hollows of dead or live trees.
Blue grey or brown grey, stripe between eyes, bushy tail and often white tipped. eats gum from Acacias, sap from Eucalyptus, insects. 

Common Ringtail
 - High pitched twittering call, bushland or tangled foliage, untidy nest of shredded bark or grass in dense shrubs. grey to reddish brown, white underside and white tipped non-bushy tail curved into a ring. Eats eucalyptus leaves & blossums ( rose buds).  

Common Brushtail  Forests as well as rural suburban areas. Cat size. Shelters in tree hollows, hollow logs and roofs of houses. Black to grey, bushy tailed. Eats eucalyptus leaves, grasses, insects cultivated plants & blossums.
Mountain Brush
Tail Bobuck Similar to above but with short rounded ears.

Black Wallaby and  Eastern Grey Kangaroo - seen in bushland and open paddocks.
Common Wombat leaves rectangular shaped dung on rocks and logs.
Platypus - found in Cardinia & Stoney Creek.

Short-beaked Echidna
- Leaves large scrapes often with a rounded hole in the base where they have been extracting ants. 
Agile Antechinus, Dusky Antechinus, Brown Antechinus   Can be mistaken for a house mouse. Has long pointed snout, flattened head. At 11 months old males mate for up to 6 hours at a time over 2 weeks and die from exhaustion. Live in a variety of forests, spherical nest in hollow log. greyish brown above, paler below. Eats beetles spiders and cockroaches.
Black Rat, Bush Rat, Swamp Rat , Broad-toothed Rat, House Mouse.
Forest woodland urban areas, tree hollows sheltered urban roosting sites.  Diet - insects.
White striped Freetail Bat, Lesser Long-eared Bat, Gould's Wattled Bat, Chocolate Wattled Bat, Southern Forest Bat, Little Forest Bat, Large Forest Bat.

Smooth, shiny skin, tail drops off as decoy and grow a new one. Vividly patterned flecked back, black & white striped underbelly.  
Swamp Skink, White's Skink, McCoy's Skink, Delicate Skink, Garden Skink, Weasel Skink, Metallic Skink,
Three-lined Skink, Southern Water Skink. 
Blotched Blue-tongued Lizard, Eastern Blue-Tongued Lizard  -  Eats snails, insects and plant matter. Slow moving and harmless. Displays a blue tongue when disturbed.  Tree Dragon, Eastern Dragon
They eat just about anything smaller than themselves and are in turn hunted by many other animals. Being amphibians they require water for each stage of there life cycle.
Eastern Froglet, Various patterns and colours. Call like a cricket. "crick-crick-crick". In chorus "crick-crick-crick".   
Southern Bullfrog, Striped Marsh Frog, Spotted Marsh Frog, Southern Toadlet, Common Froglet, Southern Brown Tree Frog, Verreaux's Tree Frog, Spotted Marsh Frog, Southern Brown Tree Frog, Whistling Tree Frog, Spotted Marsh Frog, Eastern Banjo
  (Pobble Bonk) Large colour variation. Call Banjo-like "bonk" to harsher "tok".
SNAKES - Snakes and Lizards are protected by Law     

Tiger Snake
Copperhead Snake, pale areas on side of face. Found in dam places. Feeds mainly on cold blooded vertebrates e.g. frogs.     
Eastern Small-eyed Snake,   White-lipped Snake, Red-Bellied Black Snake. 
Broadfin Galaxias, Mountain Galaxias, Southern Pigmy Perch, River Blackfish, Short-finned Eel, Long- finned Eel.
Some Spiders, Ants & Insects
Red-back Spider,
black with red stripe. Bite is venomous; seek medical attention. Untidy web. Garden Spider, orb weaver, brown white patches on body, reddish legs, intricate web constructed each evening.
Whited-tailed Spider, 
Common, often seen indoors, non aggressive.
Melbourne Trap Door,
large 2 - 3 cm, brown body, Female digs hole up to 40cm. deep in ground - may or may not have trap door.   
Hunstman Spiders, 
many and varied, first two pairs of legs longer than those at rear. Usually moves sideways. 
Leaf Curling Spider,
uses a curled leaf - suspended is its web as a home.
Jumping Jack Ants, common and may inflict a painful sting. Some people are allergic. They are large, black, agile ants with orange jaws and live in rough untidy nests. 
European Wasps,
Some people are allergic to their stings, Nests are usually in the soil or in buildings amd can be destroyed by using commercial insecticides at night when wasps are quiet, or contact a Pest Control firm. 
Aquatic Insects, 
 including Stone fly, May fly and Caddis fly larvae are found and indicate high water quality. 
BUTTERFLIES - are delightful, fragile insects which pollinate many flowers.

Meadow Argus Butterfly
Predominately  dark brown. Spots are blue and white.

Common Brown, predominately orange with dark brown & yellow. Paler under. Lavae on native grasses. 
Painted Lady,
predominately  orange & brown with white outline. 
Swordgrass Brown,
predominately  dark brown with cream & orange markings. Spots are orange & blue. 
Eastern Ringed Xenica,
orange, red & brown. Larvae on Kangaroo Grass & Tussock Poa. 
White Wood, 
predominately white with grey and black on upper, black yellow and red under. Larvae on mistletoe.
Common Grass Blue,
predominately blue with black. Underside pale grey. Fully grown caterpillars are often attended by small black ants.      Imperial Jezebel  - greyish black with white markings red spots and yellow markings on the hindwing 


Emperor Gum Moth Caterpillars
These huge caterpillars grow into very large moths. They eat eucalyptus leaves and sometimes appear to be defoliating small trees. They are part of the bushland ecosystem and trees soon recover, looking bushier & sporting healthy new growth.  
There are over 11,000 different moths in Australia and less than 400 butterflies.They can be distinguished from butterflies by their antennae which taper to a point while butterfly antennae end in a club. 
Case Moth Cocoons, 
often found in gardens, female larvae remains wingless & unable to fly after pupation and waits for a visit from a winged male. After mating she lays her eggs and dies.
Cupmoth Caterpillars, small active and do little damage to trees. They have eight bunches of stinging hairs which are raised when they are disturbed. Touching them can cause an irritating rash. 
Cossid Moth,
some larvae leave large round exit holes in the trunk of eucalypts. They can live 2  - 3 years boring long tunnels within trees. Yellow -tailed Black Cockatoos can hear their burrowing and will pull large pieces of bark and even limbs off trees to find the long white grubs.
Longicorn Beetle -  larvae burrow in a similar manner to Cossids. The adult beetles have a pair of long antennae often much longer than the body 
Spitfires - Sawfly - 
caterpillar-like larvae of the Sawfly, form clusters on eucalyptus trees and exude a harmless, pungent fluid of concentrated eucalyptus oils when disturbed.