The Yellow-footed Antechinus (Antechinus flavipes) is a common inhabitant of drier forests and woodlands in northern Victoria, as long as there’s good habitat around. This small carnivorous marsupial eats mainly invertebrates (eg. insects, spiders) and occasionally small skinks which it finds by searching high and low, checking every crack and crevice for a meal. With those ears, it’s clear that hearing the sound of prey is probably as important as seeing. Like most other small mammals, the Yellow-footed Antechinus is manly nocturnal, but can commonly be seen out and about during the day.
Like several other species of Antechinus, all the males die after a frenetic breeding season (Aug-Sep), leaving a population comprising just pregnant females, until they give birth in the following month.
This little fellow was a male, clearly identified by his dangling scrotum (though not visible in these pics), just in front of the base of the tail. This little guy lives on a roadside in woodland in the Koonda Hills, north of Violet town. A great spot, with plenty of leaf litter and fallen timber, a sparse shrub-layer and a variety of different sized trees – all up, a quality piece of native real estate.
Yellow-footed Antechinus don’t occur up here in the Ranges, but we do have a closely related species, the Agile Antechinus (A. agilis), which is a little smaller and a uniform dark brown in colour.