Night tour reveals our precious species
Nestled in the heart of Dryandra Woodland is the Barna Mia Wildlife Sanctuary, where threatened native marsupials such as the bilby, woylie, quenda and boodie thrive.
Visitors can take part in a guided nocturnal experience where they have the chance to get up close and personal with native animals in a natural and unpredictable setting.
An experienced guide leads the woodland journey with special torches that omit a red light that appears black to the animals.
There are 28 animals in the enclosure from a range of species.
The tours operate several times per week, with start times varying depending on the season.
Tour guide Christine Townsend described woylies as “little environmental engineers”.
“They love to eat fungi, they do a lot of digging to find it and they can turn over up to six tonnes of soil over a year,” she said.
“They over turn the soil, reincorporating leaf litter into soil and aerating it, spreading fungal spores throughout the soil that benefit the trees and scrubs.”
The animals receive about 10 per cent of their daily nutritional requirements during the tour.
They are fed specially designed marsupial pellets full of fats and protein with a side of fruit and vegetables as a treat.
Over the course of a tour last week, a couple of bilbies made their way out from behind the scrub and into the red lights.
Ms Townsend said the endangered desert dwellers were tougher than they looked.
“Bilbies have a tiny little nail on the end of their tail that I’ve never really seen them use, I think it must be an evolutionary trait, but their ears are like personal air-conditioning,” she said.
“They’ve adapted to living in the desert and their ears are full of blood vessels so when they heat up, the blood vessels dilate and release heat through their ears.”
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