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Dibbler (Perantechinus apicalis)


The Dibbler

The Dibbler can be found primarily on the islands of Boulenger and Whitlock, but have also been spotted on several of Australiaís national parks and nature reserves. There is also a colony of dibblers on Escape Island. Dibblers are an endangered species largely due to a fragmented habitat. Predators include cats and foxes but the dibbler is so fast and well hidden in itís habitat that there are few natural predators.

This species is nocturnal and prefer sandy soils (which would explain the island locations). Days are spent resting in logs, between rocks, or maybe even a cave. Although the dibbler lives in coastal areas, it stays entirely on land.

Dibblers on average measure 245mm, with the tail accounting for 1/3 of that measurement. Deep brown fur covers the back of the dibbler and fades into a rich creamy color on the underbelly. There is also cream fur throughout the brown. The cheeks have a rusty color that starts at the nose and fades as it approaches the dibblerís short ears. A white ring of fur surrounds each of the eyes. Although the tail is colored similarly to the body is shaped like a carrot.

The dibbler is a carnivore and enjoys eating dunnarts, small birds, lizards, mice, and insects. Green plants and nectar are also eaten in small quantities. Dibblers find most of their food on the ground but are capable of jumping when necessary to catch prey. The dibbler crunches its food easily through the use of its extraordinarily strong jaws.

At about 10 months of age dibblers are mature enough to breed. Breeding generally occurs between March and April, gestation lasts about 50 days. Female dibblers are capable of one litter each year; however each litter is capable of up to 8 young. The young feed off their mother for about 4 months; most of that time is spent out of the pouch.

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A Filed Guide to the Mammals of Australia, Menkhorst, P., and Knight, F. ©2001.

Dibbler-Parantechinus Apicalis, Morris, M., 8/8/04, www.angelfire.com/mo2/animals/dasyur/dibbler.html.

Animal Info-Dibbler, Massicot, P., 8/8/04, www.animalinfo.org/species/peraapic.htm.

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