Access to nest sites is critical to species survival and habitat suitability for most faunal species worldwide. We report on nest-site selection and use by the long-nosed bandicoot (Perameles nasuta) following a wildfire in late 2003. Thirty-eight bandicoots were tracked to 213 nests. The number of nests, frequency of nest use, nest range, nest size and nest site microhabitat in burnt and unburnt habitat were analysed. The mean number of nests used in burnt areas was 5.9, not significantly different from the number used in non-burnt areas (5.3). However, there were significant fire effects on nest location and frequency of use. Six months after the wildfire, 60% of nests in burnt forest and woodland habitat were in patches of unburnt microhabitat. These nests were significantly larger and were used more frequently than nests located in burnt microhabitat. After fire, P. nasuta typically uses nests under dense grasses and midstorey in unburnt microhabitat in burnt areas. However, the species will also nest in open areas and respond to fire-affected areas by constructing smaller nests. When conducting prescribed fires, the practice of ‘burning out’ should be minimised and patchiness at a microhabitat level be a desired outcome for bandicoot management.
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Vol. 63 • No. 5