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.

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