Bandicoots in the ‘burbs? St Emilie’s in Canning Vale get a science lesson from Murdoch Researchers

By Janine Kuehs and Natasha Tay.  The Backyard Bandicooteers attended something a little different last week! St Emilie’s Primary School science teacher Kerrie Cogger contacted Murdoch University after they discovered little diggings in their school’s bushland. Mrs Cogger, along with her students (who together undertake many activities in the bushland), set up a motion activated camera to find the culprit – a large healthy-looking bandicoot!

St Emilies 3
Amazing ‘Quenda Habitat’ dioramas made by the students during the week for our visit

While bandicoots are not uncommon in remnant bushland around and within Perth from Joondalup to Mundaring and down to Mandurah, St Emilie’s only has a quaint little piece of bush, and the school is located right in the middle of the suburban matrix, quite a distance from any other natural vegetation.

We spoke to the Year 3 students about what bandicoots are, how to tell them apart from a rat (they are often mistaken for rats), and what kind of habitat they like. The students were very attentive and keen to ask many questions, and shared their own stories about our native wildlife.

We also had the opportunity to test out an interactive computer game created by Murdoch honours students (Elizabeth Haynes, Nathan Gane an Maddisen Topaz) as an educational resource for children. The game, ‘Backyard Bandicoots’, uses a board game style interface and students ‘roll a dice’ and then answer questions about bandicoots to move forward. The game was a huge hit!

Thank you to Mrs Cogger and the Year 3 students at St Emilie’s for the great day, we love every opportunity to share these fantastic animals with the public!

St Emilies 1
Prize winners for getting quiz questions right!
St Emilies 2
Playing the ‘Backyard Bandicoots’ game

 

 

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