Environment

Australia's Most Endangered Mammals

Australia is known in biology and zoology as both a land of endemism and the home of several critically endangered mammals.

Australia is home to a wide range of mammals, including both native and introduced species. Some of these species are thriving well and comfortably share their habitat with other species and groups of animals. Almost 270 species of the land-dwelling mammals are native to Australia. Most of these Australian mammals are marsupial placental mammals. Australia has some of the Critically Endangered species of mammal some of which are near extinction. These endangered mammals are looked at below.

Australia’s Most Endangered Mammals

Christmas Island Pipistrelle

The Christmas Island Pipistrelle, scientifically called Pipistrellus murrayi, is a bat species representing an endemic taxon on Australia's Christmas Island. It is a small insectivorous bat which weighs between 3 to 4.5 grams with a forearm length of between 30 and 33 millimeters. Both the male and the female are similar in appearance with a dark brown fur covering their bodies. The female Christmas Island Pipistrelle forms colonies of up to 50 individuals, while the males roost alone in solitude. The bat roosts at the back of dead trees and in hollow trees. The number of Christmas Island Pipistrelle has reduced significantly with fears being held that the species may be extinct by now. Its decline is associated with threats such as predation, diseases introduced by species such as black rats, and disturbance of their habitats.

Bare-Rumped Sheathtail Bat

The Bare-Rumped Sheathtail Bat, scientifically called Saccolaimus saccolaimus nudicluniatus, is a Critically Endangered bat species, and ranked as a high priority by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection in Australia. It is a large sheath-tailed bat which lacks fur on the lower part of its back. The dense dorsal fur is colored brown or black with white patches. It has a throat pouch as opposed to the wing pouch common in most bats. The throat pouch is more developed in the male than in the female. Bare-Rumped Sheathtail Bat occurs in tropical eucalyptus and rainforest. It is common in open woodland and lives in tree hollows, with most roosts located in Eucalyptus plantyphylla trees. The bat lives in colonies of 3 to 40 bats. It is a fast flier and forages mainly at night. Bare-Rumped Sheathtail Bat is insectivorous. The threats to its survival include habitat loss and competition for hollows with native birds.

Carpentarian Rock Rat

The Carpentarian Rock Rat, scientifically known as Zyzomys palatalis, is a rodent species in the Muridae Family. It is native only to Australia. The Carpentarian Rock Rat is a compact conilurine rodent with a grey-brown fur above and pale fur below. It stores fat at the base of its carrot-shaped tail. An adult species weighs an average of 120 grams. It is found in only five locations around the Wollogoran Station while its habitat includes rugged sandstone gorges. The main threats to Carpentarian Rock Rat include fires and hot late dry seasons. Its conservation is under the Territory Wildlife Park management.

Christmas Island Flying Fox

The Christmas Island flying fox, scientifically named Pteropus melanotus natalis, is a bat species in the Family Pteropopidae. It inhabits the Christmas Island in Australia, Nicobar and Andaman Islands in India, and Sumatra Island in Indonesia. It is often spotted flying and foraging in the mid afternoon. It feeds on fruits and flowers of coconut palms. The threat to Christmas Island Flying Fox includes loss of roosting habitat and inadequate food.

Other Endangered Mammals of Australia

Other endangered mammals in Australia include Gilbert’s Potoroo, the Kangaroo Island Dunnart, Leadbeater's Possum, the Lord Howe Long-Eared Bat, the Macdonnell Range Rock Rat, the Mountain Pygmy Possum, and the Queensland Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat. The major threats to these species include habitat loss and human activities such as poaching and agriculture

Australia's Most Endangered Mammals

Critically Endangered Mammals of Australia Scientific Name
Christmas Island Pipistrelle Pipistrellus murrayi
Bare-Rumped Sheathtail Bat Saccolaimus saccolaimus nudicluniatus
Carpentarian Rock Rat Zyzomys palatalis
Christmas Island Flying Fox Pteropus melanotus natalis
Gilbert’s Potoroo Potorous gilbertii
Kangaroo Island Dunnart Sminthopsis aitkeni
Leadbeater's Possum Gymnobelideus leadbeateri
Lord Howe Long-Eared Bat Nyctophilus howensis
Macdonnell Range Rock Rat Zyzomys pedunculatus
Mountain Pygmy Possum Burramys parvus
Queensland Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat Lasiorhinus krefftii
Southern Bent-Wing Bat Miniopterus schreibersii bassanii
White-Tipped Stick-Nest Rat Leporillus apicalis
Woylie Bettongia penicillata

More in Environment