The Royal Mail Hotel Conservation team have added another resident to the Mount Sturgeon Biodiversity Reserve – the cute and tiny carnivorous marsupial called Fat-Tailed Dunnarts.
Endemic to Australia, there are 19 known species of dunnarts living across the continent. They are part of the Dasyuridae family, which also includes quolls and the Tasmanian devil.
About the size of a mouse, the average body length of a Fat-Tailed Dunnart is 60-90 mm, with a tail of 45-70 mm. The adorable animals only weigh up to 20 grams, and their lifespan is an expected 15 (males) – 18 months (females).
Fat-tailed Dunnarts Diet
Nocturnal and carnivorous, dunnarts emerge at night to eat insects, small reptiles, amphibians and spiders. When food is plentiful, dunnarts store excess fat in their tails, which develop into a swollen carrot-shape. When food is scarce, they use these fat stores to survive.
Dunnarts can also enter a state of torpor – an induced state where they lower their body temperature to conserve energy.
Fat-tailed Dunnarts Habitat
The Fat-Tailed Dunnart has the widest distribution of the dunnart species and is found across most of Australia. The conservation team have found them on the Dunkeld Pastoral Company farms, where the Royal Mail Hotel lamb and beef is reared.
Although the conservation status of the Fat-Tailed Dunnart is ‘of least concern’ of extinction, several other species are considered Near Threatened or Threatened. Threats to the adorable animal include, loss of critical habitat including fallen timber and logs, predation from feral cats and foxes, bushfires, habitat destruction from cattle and rabbits and the use of pesticides in agricultural areas. Dunnarts can be mistaken for house mouse and unintentionally trapped.
The Royal Mail Hotel conservation team are now working hard to keep this species from becoming threatened.
Visitors to the Royal Mail Hotel can book into the complimentary Wildlife Conservation tour through reception. Tours run Monday to Saturday at 4:30pm. Bookings are required 24 hours in advance. Meet our conservation team and learn more about their land management efforts throughout western Victoria.