There are 21 mammals we know of who call Uluru home. Some of these animals are endangered. We also have seven types of bat, who spend their days roosting in the caves and crevices of both Uluru and Kata Tjuta and their nights foraging for food.
Today we're working hard to encourage several animals to make a return to the park - mala (rufous-hare wallaby) mitika (burrowing bettong), wayuta (common brushtail possum), ninu (bilby) and waru (blackfooted rock wallaby).
Mala (Rufous hare wallaby)
Mala (Largochestes hirsutus)
This small wallaby was once one of the most abundant and widespread macropods in the Northern Territory. Males weigh on average 1200 grams and females 1300 grams and they live mainly in patches of spinifex, which is used primarily for shelter. Mala use adjacent areas for feeding and are herbivorous. They prefer seeds and fruits when available and leaf and stem material from grasses are a major food source. When food is scarce they will eat spinifex. Mala need a mosaic of vegetation structure and diversity and small scale patchy fire is clearly important in creating this habitat.
Sadly today the mala is all but extinct in the wild in the Northern Territory. In 2005 we started a program to reintroduce the animal to our park, building a fenced-off enclosure of 170 hectares. We released 25 mala into this area, obtained from nearby Watarrka National Park. They have bred successfully, and we estimate there are now 220 mala living in this enclosure.
Read about the Mala reintroduction project
Itjaritjari (Notoryctes typhlops)
Itjaritjari (marsupial mole) is small with a head and body length of 121-159 millimetres and tail length of 21-26 millimetres and weighs 40-70 grams. This species is highly secretive and little is known about them and as such is listed as threatened. It is generally found in sand dunes, inter-dunal flats and in sandy soils along river flats and spends most of it's time undergound. These animals are rarely seen and are more inclined to surface after periods of rain. The females have a backwards facing pouch, like the koala and wombat. Their diet consists of ant pupae, beetles, beetle larvae and cossid moth larvae.
Itjaritjari (Marsupial mole)
Minyma Itjaritjari is an ancestral being that lived in a cave in the side of Uluru in the same valley as the Mala people. She was friendly with the Mala women and would often come out of her cave to watch the children play.
Murtja (Dasycercus blythi)
Murtja (mulgara) is listed as vulnerable Australia wide. Head and body length is 125-220 millimetres (males) and 125-170 millimetres (females) and tail length is 75-125 millimetres (males) and 75-100 millimetres (females). The murtja is small weighing between 75-170 grams (males) and 60-95 grams (females) and inhabits the arid sandy regions of Australia. They live in burrows, which they dig on sand plains and the burrow generally has one main entrance with two to three side tunnels and pop holes.
The most striking feature of these small yet robust animals is the crest of black hairs on the tail, which is short and fattened at the base. They hunt at night, mainly for insects, arthropods and small invertebrates but are not strictly nocturnal. The park currently has a management program for this species, which involves an annual survey using targeted trapping and a patch burning program to create ideal habitat.
Tarkawara (Notomys alexis)
Tarkawara (spinifex hopping mouse) are common and live throughout most of the arid zone of Australia preferring spinifex covered sandflats and stabilised sand dunes. They have a head and body length of 95-112 millimetres and tail length of 131-150 millimetres and weigh between 27-45 grams. Populations vary greatly according to levels of rainfall and population explosions were recorded in 1974-75 and 1988-89 after heavy rains.
Individuals avoid the desert heat by sheltering in deep, humid burrows lined with small twigs, leaves and other plant material. Like many animals in the desert they only come out at night and their diet consists of a variety of seeds, roots, shoots and invertebrates.
Malu (Macropus rufus)
Malu (red kangaroo) is found mainly in the better-watered plains country and low open woodlands, but subsists sparsely in the desert. The males are 1645-2400 millimetres in size and females are 1390-2000 millimetres and weigh between 22-85 kilograms (males) and 17-35 kilograms (females).
When conditions are favourable malu females can nurture three young at one time, one joey at foot, one in the pouch and one waiting to be born.
Patupiri (Chalinolobus gouldii)
Patupiri (Gould's wattled bat) are a common species widespread throughout Australia and inhabit open forest, mallee, dense forest, tall shrubland and urban areas. The head and body length is between 65-75 millimetres and tail length is 40-50 millimetres and they weigh between 10-18 grams. These bats roost in trees, bird nests, ceilings and have even been found in the roof of the Cultural Centre.
They emit different noises according to their activity such as high pitched chirps when flying low and chittering noises when roosting. Owls, cats and birds including the butcherbird, prey on them.
Papa (Canus lupus dingo)
The papa (dingo) plays a special role in maintaining the balance in the ecosystem. A dingo has a relatively broad head, a pointed muzzle, and erect ears. The fur colour is mostly sandy to reddish brown but can occasionally be black, light brown and even white.
They eat a wide variety of animals such as rabbits, rats, marsupial mice, kangaroos and wallabies. Dingoes are more active at night, sunrise and sunset than in the middle of the day and can been seen in small groups or often alone. In general dingoes are very shy towards humans but can be curious and watch from a distance.
The papa is a wild animal. Please do not try to touch or feed dingos in the park.
There are 21 mammal species of the park currently listed under the EPBC Act 1999 including the murtja (mulgara, Dasycercus cristicauda), itjaritjari (marsupial mole, Notoryctes typhlops), and mala (rufous hare-wallaby, Largochestes hirsutus). For a complete list of species refer to the UKTNP Draft Plan of Management 2009 - 2019 available at the Cultural Centre.