Merri Creek Management Committee

Wildlife & Habitat Guide for Merriang Landholders

Wide-ranging Species

Echidna
Tachyglossus aculeatus

Description

Unmistakable rounded spiny monotreme (egg-laying mammal).

Echidna

Habitat needs

  • The Echidna can be found in a wide variety of habitat types, Grassy woodland with fallen and rotting branches and stumps is ideal.

Threats

  • Loss of ground litter and logs.
  • Adults are invulnerable to most predators but older young (without spines) may be left for long periods in dense vegetation and are then vulnerable to dogs or foxes.
  • Cars and machinery pose a particular threat to this slow moving species.

Things to note

  • The Echidna can travel widely. They have even managed to survive and travel through the narrow urban parkland areas in the lower Merri Creek in recent years.
  • The Echidna is a surprisingly good swimmer and can scale quite high fences using its long claws.

Things to do

  • Retain fallen logs and branches where possible.
  • Retain some areas of dense grassy vegetation for shelter of young during the breeding season.
  • Keep vehicle speeds low, especially in areas Echidnas are known to frequent.
  • Don’t attempt to remove or relocate an animal, they dig into the ground and digging may result in injury.
  Visit the Western Australian Museum’s FaunaBase to View an image and specimen map. Note: the specimen map does not accurately represent distribution within the Victorian volcanic plains.  

Superb Blue Wren
Malurus superbus

Description

A familiar bird with a golf-ball sized body and long, cocked tail. The males in breeding season have brilliant enamel blue and velvet black plumage. Females and non-breeding males are a greyish brown above and paler below. Females may be distinguished by a bright rufous bill and line through the eye.

Habitat needs

  • Dense shrubbery and low undergrowth in a range of habitats including forest, shrublands, reed beds, shelterbelts and gardens.

Threats

  • Extensive destruction of woody weeds that are providing habitat before alternative shrubby habitat is provided.
  • Predators, in particular domestic cats
  • Fragmentation of habitat

Things to note

  • Colonies of this species frequently are based on patches of Blackberries, Gorse and Bracken (a native fern that sometimes becomes rampant).

Things to do

  • Stage removals of exotic cover that are known nesting sites, allowing replacement plantings to mature before total eradication of the weeds.
  • Identify sites for ‘stepping-stone’ habitats that will permit these small birds to move safely around the landscape.
  • Fence and rehabilitate native shrub layers in appropriate areas.
  • Predator control including constraint of domestic cats.
  • Include patches of dense groundcover in regeneration projects. Good plants include Hop Goodenia, clumps of Tree violets and Hop Bush.
  • Retain patches of Bracken