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Kowari (Dasycercus byrnei)

Kowari

The Kowari


The kowari can be found in the drainage basin of Lake Eyre. This species is classified as “vulnerable” due to habitat loss. The declining habitat can be attributed to the grazing of other animals. The kowari is capable of leaping over seventeen inches into the air; however, most of its time is spent on the ground. There is little information known about the species due to the changing locations of significant populations.

Kowaris prefer dry grass lands and deserts. Burrows are inter-connected in colonies and may be dug by other animals. There are records of males and females living in the same burrow and making the nest together. Kowari colonies (inter-connected burrows) resemble a modern day single story apartment complex. Nests are created using any available soft material. Although kowaris are primarily nocturnal, there have been reports of the species enjoy the early morning sunlight.

The average kowari measures 150mm including the head and body with a tail measurement of about 120mm. On average, a kowari weighs in at 100g. Olive-gray fur covers the kowari’s back and fades into a white underbelly. The limbs and top half of the tail are also white. A distinct white ring around each eye is also present. The bottom half of the tail is covered in bushy black fur. A pink hue is present on the ears and the tip of the nose.

Kowaris are carnivores and enjoy a diet that consists of birds, rodents, insects and lizards. The kowari has no need to drink water; all of the necessary water is obtained from its food. Males are larger than females and they also weigh more, which signifies a higher need for food.

Reproductive maturity is reached at about seven months of age. Mating general occurs from April through the end of December. Female kowaris experience a one month gestation. Two litters are usually produced each season, each litter averaging five young. By three months of age, young kowaris are independent from their mother. The maximum age of a kowari in the wild is unknown; however, there have been reports of captive kowaris living over six years.

 

 

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Bibliography

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

Animal Info – Kowari, Massicot, P., 8/9/04, www.animalinfo.org/species/dasybyrn.htm.


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