Wildlife on Farms
Are you aware that native animals can be a farmers best friend?
Did you know that some species of native animals can contribute to farm productivity? And do you know that birds and gliders pollinate many plants and help to control insect pests?
For example, a Sugar Glider may eat up to 25 Christmas Beetles per day and a colony of Sugar Gliders (comprising up to eight animals) may consume more than 200kg of beetles each year! These insects are serious pests on eucalypt and farm trees and the decline of Sugar Gliders may be one of the causes of tree dieback.
More examples are the Ibis and Australian Magpie - an Ibis eats up to 250g of pasture insects each day and the Magpie can consume large numbers of damaging Scarab Beetle larvae. Honeyeaters such as the Eastern Spinebill and other birds also spread pollen and eat insect pests (up to 60% of insects found on woodland trees).
Large reptiles such as the Lace Monitor (also known as the Goanna) and Carpet Python eat pests such as mice and rabbits. Sure, snakes may be frightening, however you only need to watch where you place your feet (See Living with Snakes - PDF file, 241kb) and these animals can be an inexpensive and natural pest control.
So, how can you learn to incorporate native animals into your farming practices? Buy the great book Wildlife on Farms - How to conserve native animals. This is an excellent resource that all farmers should own.