Distribution: Coastal south-west Western Australia
Habitat: Dense heath
Description: The Dibbler is a small marsupial with coarse brownish grey fur, speckled with white. It has distinctive white eye-rings and a tapering hairy tail. They are very agile animals and, despite spending much of their time on the ground, often climb bushes to lick the nectar from flowers.
Diet: The Dibbler is a carnivore and feeds mostly on ground-dwelling insects and other invertebrates but also eats small lizards, birds and mammals.
In the wild: Dibblers are crepuscular which means they are most active at dawn and dusk. Dibblers live in areas with lots of leaf litter. This provides them with their food supply of invertebrates. It also gives Dibblers cover from predators.
Threats: The Dibbler is threatened by loss of habitat caused by land clearing, die-back disease and wildfires. Introduced predators such as foxes and cats also prey on them.
At Perth Zoo: As part of its Native Species Breeding Program, the Zoo is breeding Dibblers to increase knowledge about them and to provide animals for release into predator safe, Department of Parks and Wildlife managed areas on islands and the mainland. The first successful captive breeding of the Dibbler was in 1997. A new population has been established on Escape Island in Jurien Bay, and two mainland sites are also showing promising signs of successful establishment. Dibblers can be seen in the Nocturnal House at Perth Zoo.
Dibblers can be seen in the Nocturnal House at Perth Zoo.
Did you know? The Dibbler was thought to be extinct by the early 1900s! In 1967 a pair was collected by chance from Cheyne Beach on the south coast of Western Australia. Since then, only small numbers have been found in two isolated locations. The Dibbler used to be widespread throughout near-coastal areas across much of south-west Western Australia and also on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.