Burrow use by bilbies in temperate South Australia

Karleah K. Berris, Steven J.B. Cooper, William G. Breed, Joshua R. Berris, Susan M. Carthew

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Remnant natural populations of greater bilbies (Macrotis lagotis) are confined to the Australian arid zone where bilbies construct and shelter in multiple burrows within their home range. We investigated burrow use behaviour of bilbies in a translocated population in temperate southern Australia to determine if behaviour differed in this climatic zone. Over a 12 month period, 43 adult bilbies at Venus Bay Conservation Park were spool-and-line tracked to 118 burrows. Active burrow density was 0.55 per ha, and bilbies at the site used multiple burrows (up to 13 for males and 8 for females) and regularly moved between diurnal burrows. Male bilbies had significantly larger burrow ranges (10.2 ± 5.8 ha, MCP100, mean ± s.d.) than females (2.6 ± 1.8 ha), and were similar in size to those recorded in an arid zone population. Males' burrow ranges tended to overlap with the burrow range of multiple other males and females. The density of burrows in the current study suggests that bilby burrows were likely to have been a common landscape feature within the southern parts of the species range prior to their local extinction. Further research is needed to determine the impact of the loss of bilby burrows from southern Australia on other burrow commensal species.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)256–265
    Number of pages10
    JournalAustralian Mammalogy
    Issue number2
    Early online dateSep 2021
    Publication statusPublished - May 2022


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