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Marsupial mole makes rare appearance in WA

Marsupial mole makes rare appearance in WA

From the ABC By Erin Parke

Mole

Rare Marsupial mole in WA’s Kimberley


Aboriginal women in Western Australia’s north have encountered a strange, silky-haired mole that is only spotted a handful of times each decade.

The marsupial mole is found only in desert areas of northern and central Australia, and rarely surfaces from underground.

Kate Crossing, who co-ordinates an Indigenous Protected Area in the Gibson Desert, said she was stunned to see one of the animals during a field trip with the local Aboriginal rangers near the Northern Territory border.

“We saw this little golden creature run along the track in front of us, and as I brought the car to a stop, one of our rangers, Yelti, yelled out ‘Kakarratul!’ and jumped out and grabbed hold of it,” Ms Crossing said.

“It was less than the size of your hand, and it’s just this golden-coloured animal, with a little pink nose, and it lives almost all its life underground.

“It is so rare to see them above ground, so we were just amazed … we were so lucky.”
 

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The women, who are from the remote community of Kiwirrkurra, quickly took some photographs and video footage, before releasing the animal a little way off the road.

Ms Crossing said there was tremendous excitement as they were able to touch the fast-burrowing creature, which they call Kakarratul.

“Some of the people who’ve spent more time in the desert before [white] contact had seen a mole before, but not for many years, and there were younger people who’d never seen one properly,” she said.

“It had beautifully soft fur, and it looked really delicate … but it also had really strong front legs and feet. When we put it down, off the road, it went straight down and it was gone in less than 30 seconds.”

Relatively little is known about the marsupial mole, which is so well adapted to living underground it has no functioning eyes or ears.

Found near the Northern Territory border.

Marsupial mole found by WA Indigenous rangers

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