The area around Colac originnally supported a rich and diverse population of mammals, much of which has suffered detrimental change since white settlement, with a number of once commonly found species now long extinct. The aboriginal population lived for thousands of years in a balanced, even at times symbiotic, relationship with the animal population. To the white man, the animals were just a nuisance.
Eastern grey kangaroo
Photograph by Peter Firus of Flagstaffotos.
Common brushtail possum
Common ringtail possum
Antechinus stuartii, flavipes and swainsonii
The common wombat was once very common but was regarded as vermin by white man and vigorously hunted out of existence, although it is still common in eastern Victoria. The wombat was used as food by both the aboriginals and the early white settlers. It has never been reported in the Otway Ranges.
Eastern quoll or little native cat
Originally very common but now only found in Tasmania. They were originally persecuted because of their elleged predation of poultry, although disease proved to be the last straw for the mainland population.
Dingo or wild dog
Canis familiaris dingo
Very much a dog, and used as such by the original inhabitants who are believed to have introduced the species around 12,000 years ago, which makes it an introduced mammal. The dingo was once found across the mainland of Australia but is now restricted to the north and centre of the continent. When white settlers arrived in the district, the dingo was often seen domesticated in the company of indigenous inhabitants, much as dogs are the world over.