Animal Info - Kowari

(Other Names: Brush-tailed Marsupial Rat, Byrne's Marsupial Mouse, Byrne's Crested-tailed Marsupial Rat, Crested-tailed Marsupial Rat, Kawiri, Rat Marsupial À Double Crête)

Dasycercus byrnei (Dasyuroides b.)

Status: Vulnerable


Contents

1. Profile (Picture)
2. Tidbits
3. Status and Trends (IUCN Status, Countries Where Currently Found, History of Distribution, Threats and Reasons for Decline)
4. Data on Biology and Ecology (Weight, Habitat, Age to Maturity, Gestation Period, Birth Season, Birth Rate, Early Development, Maximum Reproductive Age, Maximum Age, Diet, Behavior, Social Organization)
5. References


Profile

Picture: Kowari (14 Kb JPEG) (Milamba Aust.)

The kowari is a small carnivorous marsupial weighing 70 - 137 g (2.5 - 4.9 oz). It is found in sparse populations in gibber deserts and dry grassland in Australia. The kowari's diet consists of insects, arachnids, and probably small vertebrates such as birds, rodents, and lizards. It does not need to drink water - it gets all of the moisture it needs from its food. It may shelter in the burrow of another mammal or dig its own, and both sexes construct a nest of soft materials in the burrow. The kowari is primarily terrestrial, but climbs well. Kowaris are thought to live in small colonies in burrow complexes.

No records of past overall abundance of the kowari are available, although various locations where it formerly occurred are known. Recent records suggest a distribution from north of Cooper Creek, east of Killalpanina to east of the Simpson Desert in Queensland, south of Boulia and west of Thomson Creek from around Betoota. (Maxwell et al. 1996)

The kowari's abundance has probably decreased due to habitat loss through grazing.


Tidbits

*** The kowari's habitat is harsh, and it is difficult to predict when conditions will favor successful reproduction. By reproducing twice during a breeding season it increases the chance of successfully rearing at least one litter.


Status and Trends

IUCN Status:

  • 1994: Endangered
  • 1996 - 2004: Vulnerable (Criteria: C2a) (Population Trend: Decreasing) (IUCN 2004)

Countries Where the Kowari Is Currently Found:

2004: Occurs in Australia (IUCN 2004).

History of Distribution:

No records of past overall abundance of the kowari are available. It was recorded from the South Australia/Northern Territory border near Charlotte Waters, northern South Australia around Warburton Creek and north of Cooper Creek, south and east of the Simpson Desert, and western Queensland between the Simpson Desert and Diamantina River south of Boulia. In 1983 the kowari occurred in the southern part of the Northern Territory of Australia, the southwest of Queensland, and the northeast of South Australia. As of 1996, records suggested a distribution from north of Cooper Creek; east of Killalpanina to east of the Simpson Desert in Queensland; south of Boulia and west of Thomson Creek from around Betoota. (Maxwell et al. 1996)

Distribution Map (4 Kb GIF) (Maxwell et al. 1996)

Threats and Reasons for Decline:

It has probably decreased due to habitat loss through grazing.


Data on Biology and Ecology

Weight:

The kowari weighs 70 - 137 g (2.5 - 4.9 oz).

Habitat:

It inhabits desert associations and dry grassland. (Gibber plains and crests in undulating Mitchell grass plains.)

Age to Maturity:

About 235 days.

Gestation Period:

30 - 36 days.

Birth Season:

Mating takes place from April to December.

Birth Rate:

Litter size in the kowari is 3 - 7 (averaging 5.1 in captivity and 5.8 in the wild), and females may produce two litters in a season.

Early Development:

The young are weaned and practically independent at about 100 days.

Maximum Reproductive Age:

Female kowaris are capable of breeding through at least their third year of life.

Maximum Age:

One captive was still alive after 6 years and 4 months.

Diet:

The diet of the kowari consists of insects, arachnids, and probably small vertebrates such as birds, rodents, and lizards. It does not need to drink water - it gets all of the moisture it needs from its food.

Behavior:

The kowari may shelter in the burrow of another mammal or dig its own, and both sexes construct a nest of soft materials in the burrow. It is primarily terrestrial, but it climbs well.

Social Organization:

The kowari is thought to live in small colonies in burrow complexes (Erlangen Univ. 1997). Males act aggressively towards one another, but this is ritualistic behavior and injuries usually do not result. The kowari scent-marks its territory.


References

Burbidge & McKenzie 1989, Burton & Pearson 1987, Erlangen Univ. 1997, IUCN 1994, IUCN 1996, IUCN 2000, IUCN 2003a, IUCN 2004, Kennedy 1992, Macdonald 1984, Maxwell et al. 1996, Milamba Aust., Nowak & Paradiso 1983, Zool. Soc. Phila. 1997


Top of Page | Search This Site

Home | Rarest Mammals | Species Index | Species Groups Index | Country Index | Links


Last modified: January 2, 2005;

© 1999 - 2014 Animal Info. Endangered animals of the world. SJ Contact Us.