The fat-tailed dunnart (Sminthopsis crassicaudata) is a species of mouse-like marsupial of the Dasyuridae, the family that includes the Tasmanian devil, little red kaluta and quolls. Fat-tailed dunnarts, as their name suggests, are distinguished by their carrot-shaped tail where the dunnarts store excess fat for times of food shortage. At the Creek displays two fat-tailed male dunnarts on rotation. There are two off display enclosures and one display enclosure.
Fat-tailed dunnarts are nocturnal and more active at night however, they do not spend the entire day sleeping. During the day, dunnarts may remain in their houses or explore the enclosure. At night, the dunnarts are more active. Fat-tailed dunnarts are social animals however, males cannot be housed together. They may be heard vocalizing to one other, typically through chirps and hisses. Sprinkling two or three small mealworms around the enclosure for a dunnart to forage is a typical enrichment activity given to a stressed animal. For stressed or extremely flighty dunnarts, a small plastic exercise wheel may provide enrichment.
Captive fat-tailed dunnarts like to eat cat kibble, mince, meal worms (Tenebrio molitor), sunflower seeds, egg and apple. These foods provide enrichment through a variety of dietary components and by encouraging natural foraging behaviours.
The Julia Creek dunnart (Sminthopsis douglasi) is listed as endangered both in Queensland (Nature Conservation Act 1992) and nationally (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999). It is ranked as a critical priority under the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection. Due to this critical level, At the Creek has a robust understanding of the importance of conservation and this message is delivered to the public. The message relates to the conservation of habitat through sustainable agricultural practices, to minimise the impact of introduced predators and woody weeds and the effect of climatic factors such as, drought and bushfire. At the Creek is also commited to research of the Julia Creek dunnart and works in close consideration with the University of Queensland Native Wildlife Teaching and Research Facility.
For more information go to www.atthecreek.com.au