Night vision footage has revealed the after-dark activity of Adelaide Zoo’s newest and most whiskery resident, a rather large Black-footed Tree-rat.
While most of the animals are tucked up in bed, new to the zoo Beatrix the Black-footed Tree-rat has been busy investigating her new home in the Variety Children’s Zoo.
Adelaide Zoo’s Senior Keeper of Natives, Meg Williams, said as a nocturnal animal, Beatrix has been building her confidence in the afternoon and under the cover of darkness.
“She’s been very busy exploring her habitat at night and in the morning we see a lot of footprints of where she’s been investigating.
“We captured the night vision footage to see how she’s using her habitat and we can see she absolutely adores it which is great.
“As an arboreal species, it’s excellent to see her using high up spaces and branches as she would in the wild,” said Meg.
Since arriving from Territory Wildlife Park, Beatrix has quickly settled into the Adelaide Zoo family.
“We are still learning a lot about her, but she is quickly building a good connection with the keepers here. She loves her peanuts and loves a sleep in!”
Keepers are working on training Beatrix for routine health management and she is quickly making good progress.
“As she gets more comfortable with being handled we are working on pouch training Beatrix so we can involve her in our Wildshow Animal Experience, to help educate the public about this lesser known native species.”
Black-footed Tree-rats are one of Australia’s largest native rodents. Similar to the size of a possum, Black-footed Tree-rats can weigh up to 880 grams.
Found in Australia’s tropical north, they are an elusive species and although you may not see them, they contribute to important biodiversity of eucalypt woodland habitats.
The species is listed as vulnerable to extinction by the IUCN Red List. The wild population is threatened by habitat loss and predation from feral cats. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon for native animals as Australia has the highest rate of mammal extinction in the world.
“Native animals at the zoo like Beatrix are really special because they can help spread the message about how our native species are struggling in the wild.
“Most importantly, it shows what people can do at home to save native species and all species from extinction.”
Beatrix is one of four new species recently making their debut at Adelaide Zoo’s Variety Children’s Zoo.
“We’ve introduced three new aviaries at the Variety Children’s Zoo including Tawny Frogmouths, Rambo the Brush-tailed Bettong and two Red-tailed Black Cockatoos,” finished Meg.
You can visit Beatrix in the Variety Children’s Zoo at Adelaide Zoo 365 days a year.