bandicootKeepers at Werribee Open Range Zoo are conducting a world first trial to study the mating habitats of the Eastern Barred Bandicoots.

Staff at the zoo is working to understand whether or not these animals actively make a choice about who they mate with.

In a number of species the female’s choice of mate will drastically affect how successful they are when reproducing. They also want to see if having a choice produces healthier young.

Each bandicoot was matched up with a pair of males whose scents were then presented to the female. Finally they were allowed to meet each other and the female could make a decision on which she liked better.

The females have been seen to show interests in the male’s scents. This news has excited keepers as scent based choices have been shown to increase the number of young and also decrease the length of time between the births.

Valuable data has been collected as well as five young being born throughout the course of the trial. These will be monitored during their release into predator proof reserves.

Next winter a second trial will take place with another set of pairings.

Photo Credit: Werribee Open Range Zoo

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