This is the third article in our four-part series on Endangered Species in the Black Saturday bushfire area.
The endangered Smoky Mouse is rare for a number of reasons. They are fussy about both their food and their habitat, feed on truffles and prefer ridge sites with specific soil and diverse heath vegetation. Similar in size to a small rat, the average adult weighs 52 grams. Their fur is fine, soft, pale-grey to bluish-grey above, with a grey to white belly and a ring of dark hairs around the eye. The tail is long, narrow and sparsely furred, mostly pale to pinkish, with a narrow, dark stripe along the upper surface.
Alpine Tree Frog
The endangered Alpine Tree Frog is a relatively small tree frog, growing to about three centimetres long with the distinguishing feature of a warty back. Colouration is highly variable with green, brown and grey forms. They have a black stripe from the nostrils, through the eyes, to the top of the foreleg. Pre-2009 fires, it was present on the Lake Mountain Plateau and at Mount Bullfight Nature Conservation Reserve.
Large-footed Myotis (Bat)
The Large-footed Myotis has disproportionately large feet; more than eight millimetres long, with widely-spaced toes which are distinctly hairy. It’s known as a ‘fisher’ skimming over water surfaces for prey, helped by its long, curved claws. It has dark-grey to reddish-brown fur above and is paler below. It weighs up to 15 grams and has a wingspan of about 28 centimetres. Scientist Rob Grayson has done local studies on these by using sub-sonic frequency equipment and is now studying populations following the bushfires.
The Pygmy Possum is an endangered Australian marsupial and ranges in length from about five to 12 centimetres, weighing between 10 to 50 grams. They are nocturnal and omnivorous and excellent climbers, due in part to their tail. They cannot glide like some other species of possum, but are able to leap long distances. There are several species of Pygmy Possum and all are endangered. The Pygmy Possum was known to exist in the Lake Mountain area pre-2009 bushfires.
This is the third article in a four-part series on Black Saturday endangered species.