There are approximately 50 species of mammals found in the Mount Alexander (see Checklist below). These include introduced species as well as native species such as platypus, marsupials, bats and rodents. Many of the native species are small, cryptic and often nocturnal which makes them difficult to see. Some are rare and possibly locally extinct.

Monotremes

Short-beaked Echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus)
Widespread and relatively common monotreme. Found in open bushland and usually solitary.

Photo: Cathrine Harboe-Ree

Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)
Seen occasionally in local creeks and rivers. Known from Campbells Creek and other rivers with near permanent water flows. Listed as vulnerable in Victoria. Sightings should be reported to the Australian Platypus Conservancy

Photo: John Bundock

Marsupials

Brush-tailed Phascogale; Tuan (Phascogale tapoatufa)
A marsupial species, small, shy and nocturnal, that nests in trees. Listed as vulnerable in Victoria. Conservation programs are underway in an attempt to build numbers. This includes the provision of nest boxes to compensate for the lack of tree hollows.

Photo: Beth Mellick

Yellow-footed Antechinus (Antechinus flavipes)
A widespread and abundant carnivorous marsupial found in a range of habitats. Mainly nocturnal and crepuscular but often seen during the day foraging around trees and fallen branches.

Photo: Euan Moore

Koala (Phascolarctus cinereus)
An uncommon marsupial. Found in open forests and woodland and usually solitary.

Photo: Euan Moore

Common or Bare-nosed Wombat (Vombatus ursinus)
Wombats may be found in the cooler, wetter forests in the southern part of our region. They are mainly nocturnal.


Common Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus vilpecula)
A widespread, nocturnal arboreal marsupial. It is common in both urban and bushland settings.

Photo: Euan Moore

Common Ringtail Possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus)
A widespread, nocturnal and arboreal marsupial, found in both urban and bushland settings.

Krefft’s (Sugar) Glider (Petaurus notatus)
A small nocturnal gliding possum that is relatively common in the region. It is sometimes seen within urban areas. Family groups may occupy nest boxes as shown in the photo (right).

Photo: Beth Mellick

Feathertail Glider (Acrobates spp.)
This is the smallest of the gliding possums. There are two species in our region which are very difficult to separate in the field. Most records are from the southern part of the region however its small size and nocturnal habits mean that it will be often overlooked. It is sometimes found in nest boxes.


Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus)
This is the common kangaroo for our area. Large numbers may be seen close to Castlemaine where they come out of the bush to graze on open paddocks in the late afternoon.

Photo: Euan Moore

Swamp Wallaby; Black Wallaby (Wallabia bicolor)
A relatively common marsupial, smaller than the Eastern Grey Kangaroo. It is generally nocturnal and crepuscular, but also sometimes active during the day. Most often seen in areas of thicker scrub and undergrowth such as damp gullies. Usually solitary.

Photo: Cathrine Harboe-Ree

Placental Mammals

Grey-headed Flying-fox, Grey-headed Fruit-bat (Pteropus poliocephalus)
These are the largest bats in our area. They live in extensive colonies and range widely in search of the fruit that they eat. They have been seen locally feeding on plums and figs. A few individuals occasionally roost in the Castlemaine Botanic Gardens. The nearest colony is in Bendigo.

Photo: Euan Moore

Lesser Long-eared Bat (Nyctophilus geoffroyi)
This is a common bat in our area that will often roost in protected locations around the house such as, in this case, a folded sun umbrella.

Photo: Euan Moore

Other Microbats
These small insectivorous bats make up the largest group of mammals in our region with about a dozen species having been recorded. They mostly inhabit tree hollows or fissures in the bark of trees although some may use caves and old mine tunnels. Sometimes they are found in the roofs and other dark sheltered places in buildings. They are important for controlling insects in both urban and rural environments. You are most likely to see them silhouetted against the night sky shortly after sunset or hawking for insects around street lights.


Rakali; Water Rat (Hydromys chrysogaster)
An uncommon and rarely sighted semi-aquatic rodent that nests in the banks of waterways and is most active early in the morning. Often their presence is indicated by their “feeding tables”, logs extending above water level where they bring their yabbie prey to eat and leave the empty broken yabbie shells on the log.

More information about the Rakali and how to report sightings to improve distribution records can be found on the Australian Platypus Conservancy website.

Photo: Carol Hall

Feral animals

As with most other areas of Australia, this district suffers from the depredations of a number of feral animals, including hares, rabbits, foxes, feral cats and fallow deer. It is important that the presence of feral animals is recorded as this helps with the management and control of these species. Sightings of feral animals can be reported on FeralScan which feeds data into state-based feral animal control programs.


Checklist

This Checklist of Mammals of the Mount Alexander region is based on observations for the region recorded in the Atlas of Living Australia.
Local status is derived from the number of records along with local knowledge from naturalists in our area. The values are: R – Rare; UC – Uncommon; LC – Locally Common; MC – Moderately Common; C – Common; V – Vagrant.
Species with a * following the name are introduced.

Common NameScientific NameLocal StatusNotes
MONOTREMATA
PlatypusOrnithorhynchus anatinusUCFound in Campbells Ck and Loddon River
Short-beaked EchidnaTachyglossus aculeatusCMost habitats
DASYUROMORPHIA
Brush-tailed PhascogalePhascogale tapoatafaLCBox-Ironbark forests with good leaf litter layer
Agile AntechinusAntechinus agilisLCIn the most southern part of our region
Yellow-footed AntechinusAntechinus flavipesCBox-Ironbark forests. May enter the home
Mainland Dusky AntechinusAntechinus mimetesRIn the most southern part of our region
Common DunnartSminthopsis murinaR
DIPROTODONTIA
KoalaPhascolarctos cinereusR
Common WombatVombatus ursinusLCIn the most southern part of our region
Mountain Brushtail PossumTrichosurus cunninghamiLCIn the most southern part of our region
Common Brushtail PossumTrichosurus vulpeculaC
Eastern Pygmy-possumCercartetus nanusMC
Feathertail GliderAcrobates spp.CTwo species found in this area. Difficult to separate in the wild.
Krefft's (Sugar) GliderPetaurus notatusCPreviously included with P.breviceps
Greater GliderPetauroides volansUCIn the most southern part of our region
Common Ringtail PossumPseudocheirus peregrinusC
Eastern Grey KangarooMacropus giganteusC
Swamp WallabyWallabia bicolorC
CHIROPTERA
Grey-headed Flying-foxPteropus poliocephalusUC
Little Red Flying-foxPteropus scapulatusV
White-striped Freetail-batAustronomus australisC
Little Mastiff-batOzimops planicepsMC
Gould's Wattled BatChalinolobus gouldiiC
Chocolate Wattled BatChalinolobus morioC
Large Forest BatVespadelus darlingtoniC
Eastern Forest BatVespadelus pumilusRNo recent records. Locally extinct?
Southern Forest BatVespadelus regulusMC
Little Forest BatVespadelus vulturnusMC
Eastern False PipistrelleFalsistrellus tasmaniensisLCIn the most southern part of our region
Lesser Long-eared BatNyctophilus geoffroyiC
Gould's Long-eared BatNyctophilus gouldiLCIn the most southern part of our region
RODENTIA
Water-ratHydromys chrysogasterUC
House Mouse *Mus musculusC
Bush RatRattus fuscipesLCIn the most southern part of our region
Swamp RatRattus lutreolusLCIn the most southern part of our region
Brown Rat *Rattus norvegicusR
Black Rat *Rattus rattusC
CARNIVORA
Feral Dog *Canis familiarisR
Red Fox *Vulpes vulpesC
Feral Cat *Felis catusC
LAGOMORPHA
Brown Hare *Lepus capensisC
Rabbit *Oryctolagus cuniculusC
ARTIODACTYLA
Feral Goat *Capra hircusUCIn the most southern part of our region
Pig *Sus scrofaR
Red Deer *Cervus elaphusRRecords from the south of our region. Likely to be increasing in numbers
Sambar *Cervus unicolorRLikely to be increasing in number
Fallow Deer *Dama damaUCIncreasing in number

Further reading:

Baker, K., Birkenbeil, A., Nicholas, H., Native Plants and Animals of the Chewton Bushlands, Chewton, Chewton Bushlands Asssociation, 2017.

Menkhorst, P., Knight, F., A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia, Third Edition. Oxford University Press, 2010.

Tzaros, Chris, Wildlife of the Box-Ironbark Country, Melbourne CSIRO Publishing, 2021.