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The use of faecal cuticle examination to determine the dietary composition of koalas

William Ellis, Frank Carrick, Petra Lundgren, Andrew Veary and Beth Cohen

Koala Study Programme, Department of Zoology, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Queensland 4072

Captive koalas were provided with specified proportions of known browse Species. Faecal pellets collected from each koala were analysed for cuticle fragments to determine the accuracy of this method for estimating the species composition of the diet Of koalas. Food species were consistently observed in faecal pellets collected 34 h after presentation of browse and remained represented in pellets collected up to 154h post-feeding. Faecal pellet examination provided an accurate means of describing the species composition of the diet of the koalas for the species of browse offered.