Image: © Aussie Ark
The Animal Facts Editorial Team
March 14, 2023 11:49 pm
Aussie Ark, New South Wales, Australia
Breeding season has kicked in to full swing at Aussie Ark in the Barrington Tops of Australia with Tasmanian Devils hitting their peak breeding season during February and March. Other species such as the rufous bettong and brush tailed rock wallabies have also been engaged in their breeding activities in recent weeks.
To help monitor the breeding of these species Aussie Ark rangers have been busy setting up dozens of hidden camera-traps throughout the Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary and Species Recovery Unit to record these mostly secretive love-lives. With most of these species being nocturnal, heat-sensing cameras are the best way to peel back the secrets of their breeding.
Aussie Ark wildlife ranger Matt Helm said the cameras recorded unique imagery of female Devils choosing den sites and Devil males ‘den guarding’ to ensure their females weren’t visited by other males.
“But the more comprehensive and rare footage we captured was the mating of the Brush-tailed Rock wallabies,” Mr Helm said.
“We filmed a male chasing a female around. His amorous advances were complicated because the female had a joey at foot…so privacy was hard to come by! But finally he was rewarded, and we captured his moment of triumph!”
After 5 years the rangers have also captured a unique behaviour on camera. A rufous bettong was seen carrying grass in his tail. The bettong is a primitive relative of the kangaroo with a semi-prehensile tail allowing them to carry grass and other materials to line their nest.
“We’ve tried filming this for five years!” Mr Helm said. “It’s incredible to finally get it and even more special to see Billy the Bettong checking out Elfie the Potoroo’s old playpen!”
Elfie the potoroo was a popular potoroo raised at Aussie Ark who recently returned to the wild. You can read that story here – Aussie Ark Release Long-Nosed Potoroo
Unfortunately the Tasmanian Devil is one of the world’s only species affected by a contagious cancer. Find out more about this with our fact file.
A baby Tasmanina devil is known as an imp. While the mother may give birth to up to 20 imps she only has four teats and as such young undergo a life and death battle soon after birth to obtain a teat from which they suckle for the next few months.
Image: © Aussie Ark
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