Mammals are our kin and come in many sorts of fluffy and furred varieties. Most city dwellers contact with mammals come in the form of their cherished pet cat or dog. However, Sydney has so much more incredible mammal diversity to see than your household pet. Australia is home to mammals which no other continent shares, such as Kangaroos, Platypus and Koalas. These iconic animals are just the tip of the ice berg for Australias amazing mammal diversity. Other less well known mammals include the Anetchinus, the Dunnart and Bandicoots. One can not forget the cute tree dwelling Possums and Gliders. Yet as us humans expand out habitat and cut down more and more trees, the local mammals in the area are disappearing. This backyard guide is aimed to spread awareness and provide direction for property owners in Sydney to encourage the local mammal populations to make a come back into urban areas.
Why attract mammals?
The first argument I’d like to put forward for mammals is: because they are cute? There needs not be any other reason for conserving them. I can speak for every one when I say (even though I love my herps!) that some of the cutest and most adorable animals are mammals. Whether its because they are furry or whether its because they share similarities between humans, most mammals can induce in us mother-like instincts. Just look at the photo below of this Eastern Pigmy Possum… Just to let you know, these possums are about half the size of your palm.
If that hasn’t convinced you there’s probably something wrong with you… but in any case they are also really important for pollination and pest control. If you want your lovely garden plants to flower and grow, always keep in mind that many plants (especially Australian natives such as Banksia) can require 50% + of their pollination to occur from small non-flying mammals such as Eastern Pigmy Possums, Antechinus and Feathertailed Gliders. If you want large beautiful gum trees to keep going and growing you have to make sure that Flying Foxes are visiting regularly as they preferentially access the tops of the gums which many possums and birds cannot be bothered to climb to.
The often overlooked microbat eats twice as much of their body weight of insects per night! They love smashing out moths and some even take mosquitoes. There are even reports that if you let Antechinus run around the house, they replaced the diseased ridden House Rats and keep any cockroach infestations at bay.
What to incorporate in your backyard:
Mammal Attracting Vegetation