Quendas in Backyards

What is a Quenda?

Quendas are marsupials that are roughly the size of a rabbit. In Western Australia, we have six species. The most common species found in urban areas is the Southern Brown Bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus fusciventer).

Quendas are listed as a priority 4 species under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, which means they are rare due to a reduction in numbers, largely from habitat clearing and predation. They are active mainly at dusk when they go out hunting for food but have been known to be active during the day, especially in winter. They feed mainly on invertebrates but will also eat lizards, fungi, fruit, and roots. Digging for food helps aerate the soil and assists with dispersing fungi spores. Quendas have a backward-facing pouch to prevent soil from getting inside while they dig for food. They are territorial and stick to their home range; they are also solitary.

Quenda
Quenda diggings

How do I know I have Quendas in my garden?

Signs you may have quendas in your garden:

  1. Evidence of Digging: Quendas create cone-shaped diggings, resembling their noses. In contrast, rabbits make larger, square-shaped holes. If you notice small, conical excavations in your garden, it could be a sign of Quenda activity.

  2. Droppings: Quenda droppings are usually found near the digging sites. They are cylindrical and may contain bits of insects. In comparison, rabbits leave round pellets. Keep an eye out for these distinctive droppings.

  3. Visual Identification: Sometimes, quendas are mistaken for rats. However, there are key differences:

    • Shape: Quendas have a stouter shape than rats.
    • Tail Length: A quenda’s tail is much shorter than a rat’s. Rat tails are approximately twice as long as their bodies.
    • Climbing Ability: Rats can climb trees and fences, while quendas cannot.
Quenda habitat
Quenda crossing sign

How to encourage Quendas in you Garden

While quendas can live within urban areas, they are at risk from domestic pets, vehicle collisions and pest control if people mistake them for rats. Quendas need vegetation with a dense understorey to provide a retreat in the daytime and protection from predators, tips for a quenda friendly garden include:

  1. Provide Vegetation Cover: Quendas need a dense understorey for daytime retreat and protection from predators. Plan your garden to include larger species like banksias and bottlebrushes, which provide overhead protection from owls.

  2. Create Nesting Sites: Densely plant strappy-leaved grasses and sedges such as Dianella, Poa, or Lomandra species. These plants create ideal nesting sites for quendas. Additionally, planting prickly shrubs like prickly moses (Acacia pulchella) can offer protection against predators.

  3. Attract Invertebrates: Encourage invertebrates by planting flowering plants. Logs, branches, and rocks also attract insects and worms, which are part of the quendas’ diet.

  4. Fences: Solid fences can inadvertently trap quenda. If possible, leave small gaps in boundary fences or in chicken mesh to allow quendas to escape if needed.

  5. Exclude Pets: Keep pets away from areas where quendas might nest or forage.

  6. Quenda Bungalow: For those interested in a construction project, consider setting up a “Quenda Bungalow” made from an untreated wooden pallet. You can find instructions for building one on Gardening Australia’s website: Bandicoot Bungalow – Gardening Australia (abc.net.au).

A quenda friendly garden will also attract native pollinators and birds which will enhance the biodiversity of your property.

Other ways to Help

  1. Keep Cats Inside at Night: Cats are one of the biggest threats to quendas. By keeping them indoors during the night, you reduce the risk of them preying on these marsupials.

  2. Control Dogs: When visiting bushland areas, use extender leads for dogs. This ensures that they don’t disturb quenda habitats or chase them.

  3. Choose Humane Pest Control Methods:

    • Catch and Release Traps: If you need to control pests, consider using catch and release traps. This allows you to relocate pests without harming them.
    • Deterrents: Use natural deterrents to discourage pests from your garden.
    • Reduce Pest Abundance: Limit access to food waste, which can attract pests. 
    • Baits: If you need to use baits, opt to use first generation ones such as Ratsak Double Strength as pets and wildlife are able to better cope when ingested through unintentional secondary poisoning. Place baits up high as quendas cannot climb.
  4. Injured Wildlife:

    • If you come across injured native wildlife, contact WA Wildlife at (08) 9417 7105 or the Wildcare Helpline at (08) 9474 9055. They can provide guidance on how to assist injured animals.
  5. Report Quenda Sightings Along Roadways:

    • If you see quendas along roadways or encounter roadkill, notify your local council. They may be able to place wildlife crossing signs to alert drivers and promote awareness about quendas in the area.

How to discourage Quendas

Here are some ways to discourage quendas from your garden:

  1. Exclusion Mesh Fence: Consider placing a small 50cm-wide exclusion mesh fence made of aviary wire around your lawn or gardens. This physical barrier can prevent quendas from accessing certain areas.

  2. Bright Lights: Flood your garden with bright lights. Quendas are nocturnal animals, and well-lit areas may discourage them from foraging in your garden.

  3. Chicken Manure or Dynamic Lifter: Quendas dislike the smell of ammonia. Adding chicken manure or dynamic lifter to your garden can help deter them.

Relocation of quendas is not recommended.

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Lisa Edwards

Founding Director

Lisa Bio

Our Founder

Lisa is an Environmental Scientist who has worked for 20 years primarily managing Threatened Species and Communities in Western Australia. She has also helped manage the planting of 4.2 million trees in WA’s Wheatbelt to help tackle salinity, biodiversity loss and climate change. 

Her time at Western Power gave her a thorough understanding of our amazing biodiversity and urban ecology and it also inspired her to find ways to support what we have and help halt the decline.

Lisa started WA Loves Nature, a not for profit organisation, with Leanne Salter Jones, so that they could showcase our amazing urban biodiversity and inspire and educate people on ways to support it. To achieve this they developed urban nature trails that show existing biodiversity as well as highlight it through the use of street art, murals and sculpture. The trails are bought to life with the WA Loves Nature’s App that features augmented reality, videos and sound.

Their mission is to have a nature trail in all West Australian metropolitan areas and country towns.

Lisa’s key skills include:

  • Urban ecology and its management
  • Threatened species management
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Community education
  • Communication