Though they be but little, they are fierce!
August 17, 2022 2:30 AM   Subscribe

Meet the Kowari. They weigh up to 175 grams (less for females) and hunt invertebrates, small mammals, reptiles, rodents and even birds. And they're cute as fuck. Arid Recovery has just translocated 12 kowaris from the Birdsville Track to its reserve near Andamooka Station in an effort to conserve the species. It is the last known population of the species in the state.

Adult Kowari weigh up to 175 grams (males) or 140 grams (females) and grow to be a total length of up to 34 cm. They have large upright ears and a pointed muzzle with light ashy-grey fur fading to a whitish underside. Their long tail accounts for almost half the total body length and is whitish at the base with a dense black brush on the end half.

The Kowari is a small but ferocious predator hunting at night for invertebrates, small mammals, reptiles, rodents and even birds and their eggs. They are well adapted to life in the central desert and do not need to drink, as they derive moisture from their food.

During the day, this species shelters in burrows that it digs into sand mounds. Such mounds occur infrequently across stony gibber environments in arid Australia, where temperatures often exceed 40°C in summer and fall below 5°C in winter. The term ‘gibber’ refers to the crushed-up rock bits that litter the ground. AWC ecologists have observed Kowaris utilising Bilby burrows on NAPCo properties.

The species is nocturnal and rarely ventures out of its burrow during the day, except in the cold of winter when individuals may bask in the sun at the burrow entrance. When the weather is cold and food supply is scarce, the Kowari may become torpid (a form of hibernation).

Kowaris are solitary and breed between April and December, usually only once per year. Females produce litters of up to six young, which are dependent on their mother for less than three months.
posted by carriage pulled by cassowaries (7 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
The term ‘gibber’ refers to the crushed-up rock bits that litter the ground.

I was just making a mental note "what does 'gibber' mean in this context?", and lo! I was answered! Thanks for that (and the intro to an interesting creature I knew nothing about.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:47 AM on August 17, 2022

They look so fierce and awesome!
posted by Zumbador at 7:10 AM on August 17, 2022

Awww. They're like little carnivorous versions of pikas! Love 'em.

(But if you'd like to see more pikas, well, the CBC has you covered.)
posted by martin q blank at 9:45 AM on August 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

“…we were able to see them exploring their pens, digging holes and doing what good kowaris do," she said.

Settling right in!
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 10:41 AM on August 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

Oh wow! I'm so excited to read this. May they thrive in their new home. The predator-free zone is predator-free no longer.
posted by rednikki at 7:01 PM on August 17, 2022

rednikki, predator-free zone in this context means that the area has cat-proof fencing, and that any feral cats and feral foxes inside have been killed. ^_^

Feral cats and feral foxes are one of the biggest threats to Australian wildlife.
posted by carriage pulled by cassowaries at 1:13 AM on August 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

• Wikipedia > Kowari
• AKA kariri, brush-tailed marsupial rat, bushy-tailed marsupial rat, kawiri, Kayer rat, and Byrne's crest-tailed marsupial rat.
Mom and babies (“pups”)
• More info, photos, videos at Twitter > Arid Recovery.
posted by cenoxo at 5:26 AM on August 19, 2022

« Older The Beast With a Billion Bucks   |   Tips for baking while dealing with brain fog Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments