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The spatial and temporal distribution of koala faecal pellets


W. A. H. EllisA, B. J. SullivanB, A. T. LisleC and F. N. CarrickA


ADepartment of Zoology, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Qld 4072, Australia.
BDepartment of Natural and Rural Systems Management, The University of Queensland, Gatton College, Qld 4345, Australia.
CSchool of Land and Food, The University of Queensland, Gatton College, Qld 4345, Australia.


ABSTRACT
Faecal pellets were collected under trees used by free-ranging koalas in south-western, central and southeastern Queensland to determine the spatial and temporal distribution of pellets with respect to the activity of koalas. Deposition of faecal pellets by koalas was analysed according to the time of day at which the tree was occupied. For free-ranging koalas, 47% of daily faecal pellet output was recovered using a collection mat of 8 x 8 m placed under a day-roost tree. The best predictor of pellet production was the presence of a koala in a tree between 1800 hours and midnight. For other periods, there was no relationship between period of tree occupancy and faecal pellet recovery. There was a significant relationship between the average length of tree occupancy and the time of day that a koala entered a tree.