Winter is not the time for hunkering down for Antechinus!
By Anne Carey
Winter is the season for the once-in-a-lifetime mating ritual of the Antechinus. Males die after a focussed and frenzied two week period of searching for mates and mating. Deceased males are sometimes found along walking trails so keep an eye out and try to identify any species you encounter. There are currently 11 recognised species of Antechinus of which three are encountered in the Blue Mountains. These are the Brown antechinus (Antechinus stuartii), Dusky Antechinus Antechinus mimetes mimetes [swainsonii], and Yellow-footed Antechinus (Antechinus flavipes). These species can be readily identified with a bit of experience and a good field guide so take some photos if you encounter any and ask Council for help with ID if required.
Often called “Marsupial mice” these little hunters are actually in the same family as the Spotted-tailed Quoll, and like their larger cousin, are fierce predators hunting, usually at night but sometimes during the day, for insects, spiders, centipedes and sometimes small reptiles and frogs. Antechinus shelter in hollows, burrows and fallen logs during the day and good refugia is essential for their persistence in our reserves.