Bandicoot Tales from the Brian Henderson Reserve
A topic of great excitement for us all at Senior Campus has got to be our new Southern Brown Bandicoots who are living in the Brian Henderson Wildlife Reserve. It has been over a month since the little marsupials were released into their new home, and we are pleased to announce that they have taken to their new surroundings with gusto.
In the space of only 5 weeks their presence is being felt across our four-hectare reserve in all habitat zones, from the open land in the east to the dense heathland in the west.
The Southern Brown Bandicoot was once widespread across the Mornington Peninsula and 20 years ago you could still see them on the grounds of the Senior Campus. Now they’re endangered and only found in select sites such as the Cranbourne Botanic Gardens and other small reserves across the top of Western Port Bay. Other populations throughout the state have sadly fallen into extinction. This makes their return to Woodleigh a wonderful event as they are safe behind our predator-proof fence.
The Bandicoots have taken the school community by storm with students and staff eager to see them and help in efforts to provide more habitat for our growing population. We currently have 9 adults roaming the reserve and 3 others in our captive breeding enclosures.
A great way to identify if they’re nearby while walking through the reserve is to observe the ground for their conical diggings. Bandicoots are known as ecological engineers they assist in turning over the soil and enriching the growth of native seedlings while limiting the spread of weeds, a welcome form of assistance to our dedicated Field Gnat volunteers who help look after this special place.
Perhaps the most exciting of all news related to our bandicoots has to be the arrival of three joeys in our captive breeding enclosures. Bandicoots are fast breeders with joeys fully weaned at an age of 60 days. They are also capable of breeding after only another 60 days. We will hopefully see a substantial increase in our bandicoot population in the coming months. For now, we regularly check in on the little bubs and their mother, ensuring they're well looked after.
We look forward to sharing our bandicoot stories with you all as we continue to watch and record them through night vision cameras.
Land and Animal Management Assistant Brian Henderson Reserve