Roo warning whistles

Subject: Roo warning whistles
From: Andrew Taylor <>
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2000 23:25:28 +1100 (EST)
On Mon, 23 Oct 2000, Penny Drake-Brockman wrote:
> I bought a pair from Wires at least 5 years ago and have had them on my 4WD
> ever since but have never known whether or not they work as I drive very
> slowly at dusk when in a 'roo/wombat area. However I met someone out at
> Wanaaring (NW NSW) who lives at Bundeena (south of Sydney on the edge of
> the Royal National Park) who swore about the effectiveness of his as he
> drives regularly from Bundeen through the park to Sydney, and as anyone who
> visits the park knows, there are huge quantities of feral deer there and he
> swears it works with them, although maybe deer are a bit more road wise
> than wombats and 'roos.

I was curious to know if kangaroos could hear ultrasound such as these
whistles supposedly produce.   A quick search  found a review article on
marsupial hearing [1] but its seems to indicate that the hearing ranges
of only two Australian marsupials has been described.

The Northern Quoll has a hearing range which is similar to humans and
which is generally less sensitive.  So if you can't hear these whistles
the Quolls probably won't either.

Brush-tailed Possums hearing is most sensitive at 18khz.  This is
surprisingly high - near the limit for younger humans.  Brush-tailed
Possum hear well until about 30khz and then there hearing rolls off
sharply.   So a whistle in the range 20-30 khz might be audible to
Brush-tailed Possums at some distance without being audible to most

Andrew Taylor

[1] The auditory neurobiology of marsupials: a review, L. Aitken,
Hearing Research, 82, p257-266, 1995

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The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU