Some assorted diets

 

 

The following are an assortment of suggested foods as fed to marsupials of various kinds.    This information was compiled, over a number of years, from members of The Marsupial Society and has been used with much success, particularly where breeding populations are involved.   It was first published in May 1989 but has been edited and updated.    Water is not mentioned in any of these diets but it goes without saying that they must all include fresh water at all times.  

 

Kangaroos and wallabies

 

These would be without doubt the easiest group of marsupials to feed.    If you have a reasonable sized property then during winter months very little in the way of supplementary feeding will be necessary as they will survive very well on the natural vegetation available to them.    However, I believe it is irresponsible of us not to provide a supplementary source of food at ALL times and especially during the lean dry months of summer.  

 

My animals have the following at all times

 

Capra Goat Meal (a Ridley Agritech product), Lucerne chaff, oaten hay and a slice or two of bread as a daily treat.

 

We have also offered (when in season and with varying degrees of acceptance)

 

Wheaten hay

Meadow hay

Vine leaves

Corn on the cob

Pea straw

Lucerne hay

Carrots

Apples

 

We have since stopped feeding our ‘roos Lucerne hay as it is very expensive and, for us, wasteful.   We have found that our animals tend to only eat the leaves and leave the stalks, so there is a lot of waste but Lucerne chaff is readily accepted and not wasteful.

 

Possums

 

Reading through the list of foods fed to possums is quite amazing.    In essence you can feed a possum almost anything although Ringatils are a little more finicky and need a higher proportion of native vegetation in their diet than do the Brushtails.

 

The list goes something like this:-

 

Corn on the cob

Egg

Cucumber

Apricots

Watermelon

Roses

Bottlebrush

Celery

Sultana cake

Apple

Rockmelon

Tomato

Strawberries

Mealworms

Gum branches with leaves & flowers

Oranges (cut in half – but they won’t eat the peel)

Lettuce

Chicken & chops (cooked leftovers)

Sugar Glider mix 1

 

The above is just a sample and you can offer any green native vegetation but I guess it boils down to any fruit of vegetable matter with a little protein thrown in for good measure.   Beware of ants soiling any sweet or meat foods.    Animals will tend to refuse food that has been contaminated by ants.

 

Sugar Gliders

 

Being such small animals, Sugar Gliders should only begiven very small amounts of food and it is probably best to experiment with your own ani als to se how much they are consuming and feed accordingly.    It is advisable to give then extremely small amounts of a wide variety of foods rather than a greater amount of a lesser variety.    All the following can be tried:-

 

Apple

Cucumber

Sunflower seed kernels

Peanuts (chopped)

Banana

Sweet Corn

Carrot

Sultanas

Pollen

Melon

Pear

Sugar Glider mix 1

Mealworms 2

Moths and other night flying insects 3

 

Wombats

 

Although these animals need very special care with housing their feeding requirements are comparatively easy.

 

Our animals are fed every other day with a half ice cream bucket of Capra Goat meal with a hunk of bread, an apple or pear (or both), carrots and when in season, corn on the cob.   You could also try Lucerne hay or chaff, Oaten hay or meadow hay.    We have tried all these in the past but are all treated with disdain.    However they are very fond of rolled oats, fresh green grass sunflower seed, and chook pellets.   We have a couple of animals who wander about our property at will and are regularly found raiding the chook house for a feed of their pellets   

 

Bettongs (and Potoroos)

 

This is basically a Bettong diet but can adequately be applied to Potoroos although they will have trouble with the almonds.

 

These animals will do very well on a vegetarian diet, much the same as the Glider diet (without the Sugar Glider mix1) but will the addition of bird seed ( a small parrot mix or finch mix would be ok).   Whole seed is better than husked seed (as in Sunflower kernels).  They will often stuff their mouths full of seed and then carry it to a suitable spot and bury it.   They also appreciate almonds in the shell (either hard shell or paper shell) which they will break open with ease (even the hard shell) and devour the contents, or, like the seed, will have a great time burying them for future use and then forget where they put them.    So don’t be surprised if you encounter almond trees sprouting all over your Bettong enclosure.    They also relish the addition of fungi in the form of mushrooms and the like.

 

Bandicoots

 

The following quantities are per animal per night

 

handful Puppy Chow

diced Apple

handful Rolled oats

Sunflower seed

6 kernels fresh Sweet corn

1 teaspoon Meat mixture4

 

Small quantities of diced carrots banana, wheat, bread, insects, earthworms, mealworms, whole mice (dead) should also be offered occasionally.

 

These animals may require a Selenium/Vitamin E supplement.    Use Selenium/Vitamin E tablets at the rate of of a tablet per animal per month.  This is not obligatory.

 

Whilst discussing Bandicoots it may be an opportune moment to offer some assistance with their housing requirements.

 

Depending od the sis of their enclosure, these animals are best maintained as single pairs, although have been kept successfully as trios (one male two females).   Fighting may occur if more thwn one male is housed in the same enclosure as females.   Some males, although not all, may eay their joeys, so it is wise to maintain a careful watch when the joeys are due to leave the pouch and remove the male if necessary.

 

Females are capable of having anything from one to five joeys in each litter.   Gestation is 12 days.   Pouch life is 45 days and weaning occurs three to four weeks after pouch emergence.

Like most small ground dwelling marsupials, Bandicoots are good diggers and are adept at escaping under the enclosure perimeter – be warned!

 

It is also not a good idea to house bandicoots with any other creature (including birds) or they may find themselves becoming a meal for the bandicoot or at the very least be severely mauled.

 

Dunnarts

 

A Dunnart diet is a comparatively simple affair of a few mealworms, moths and any other insects you can trap together with Wombaroo Small Carnivore mix made up into a crumbly consistency by adding a little water.   A Dunnart will eat up to 90% of its bodyweight per night and will go into a state of torpor during the winter months.    Torpor is similar to hibernation and is a slowed metabolic rate when temperatures are low and/or food is scarce.

 

Notes

 

1 Sugar Glider mix is a mixture of hard boiled egg, honey, water, high protein cereal, Wombaroo Insectivore mix and Wombaroo Flying Fox mix made up into a creamy consistency.  A teaspoon per animal per day may be poured over the top of their food. 

 

2 Mealworms can be addictive so use as treats or at breeding times.   Be mean; two or three mealworms per animal would be plenty.    They will favour these over almost all other foods and if fed too many or too often will reject ‘normal’ foods.

 

3 Moths and insects are a great favourite of all the gliders and is an excellent way to keep your animals in the peak of health and provide them with a natural food source at the same time.     They will have a great time leaping about their aviary chasing them about and when caught will devour them with gusto.     A simple way to attract insect life way into your aviary is to install a low wattage light (an 8w fluoro is ideal) within the confines of the aviary, which can be switched on a night (a sunset switch or timer will do this job).   An insect "zapper" is also good for this job but don't forget to disable the "zapper" part – you don’t want dead insects, you want live ones.    All you need is the light.    These jobs should be done by a qualified electrician.

 

4 Meat Mixture.

250grams minced beef

2 hard boled eggs

8 heaped teaped teaspoons Wombaroo Small Carnivore Mix

Blend together to become a porridge consistency – add extra water if required and add (optional) a small amount of high protein baby cereal.

 

 
 
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