Match report: leading mammals are maintaining their advantage

An active second week of voting in Australian Mammal of the Year has seen a doubling of total votes, with more than 11,000 cast so far.

As we round the first corner those first out of the blocks seem to have sustained their substantial leads. But even though there have been no shock switch-aroos, there’s still time! Who knows what could happen as we near the home stretch in the coming weeks?

This year the mammals are going head-to-head in eight voting categories, each highlighting a distinct habitat where they can be found. Let’s find out how they’re faring. 

In the “Just Deserts: Some Like It Hot” category, the greater bilby continues to savour the sweet taste of victory… for the time being. With 18% of the vote, it’s managed to increase its lead from last week on the southern hairy-nosed wombat.

Dr david taggart. Southern hairy nosed wombat lounging on top of its warren.
Southern hairy-nosed wombat lounging on top of its warren. Credit: Dr David Taggart

The crest-tailed mulgara is in the red with only 4% of the vote, but perhaps its chunky, fat-storing tail will give it the boost of energy needed to move up the ladder?

In the street race over in “City Livin’: Urban Neighbours” the platypus is drifting around the corner ahead of the grey-headed flying-fox, with 24% and 16% of the vote, respectively. The Tasmanian pademelon (4%) and common brushtail possum (3%) could do with injecting some Nitrous Oxide (NOS) into their engines, but might be saving that for the last leg.

The golden-tipped bat has doubled its shares in the “The Cool South: Forest Fossickers”, with a fur-midable 40% of the total vote. The 11 other contenders seem to share a pretty even spread amongst them, but could the quokka’s gorgeous grin do the trick in coaxing support away?

Gilbert’s Potoroo is smashing the rest of the competition in “Woodland Wanders” with, wait for it… 63% of the vote! The next closest is numbat, but with a fortnight still to go mammal lovers could always come out to bat for it in time.

Gilbert's potoroo
Gilbert’s Potoroo. Credit: Dick Walker/Gilbert’s Potoroo Action Group

The mountain pygmy possum and dingo have stayed strong in their pursuit of the top position in “Snow Patrol: Alpine Adventurers”. The tiny, but powerful, possum is leading with 27% of the vote.

Slogging through the snow at the back of the pack are the mountain brushtail possum (1.7%), and agile antechinus (2.5%). And though they’ve reclaimed territory in the wild, the bush rat just hasn’t made up the distance in this chase – second from last with 1.6% of the vote.

Photograph of a bush rat
Bush rat (Rattus fuscipes) in notophyll rainforest at Curramore Wildlife Sanctuary, Blackall Range, Southeast Queensland, Australia, an Australian Wildlife Conservancy reserve protecting a mozaic of rainforest and wet and dry sclerophyll forests, and their wildlife. Credit: AWC

The spectacled flying-fox has victory firmly in its sights, still in the lead in the “Tropical Rainforest Ramblers” category, with just over a quarter of the support. It’s truly left the rest of its competitors out in the rain, with an almost 10% advantage on the two tree kangaroos in second and third place.

But there are plenty of potentials further down the order, though the Christmas Island shrew and Christmas flying fox aren’t looking too merry.

Having a splashing good time in “Under the Sea: Marine Marvels”, the dugong retained its number one spot with ease this week. Placing second, third, and fourth in their aquatic alliance are the Australian fur seal, killer whale, and blue whale. It’d take a concerted effort one of these to get to the top, but if there’s a will, there’s a wave.

An overhead photograph of a blue whale at the surface of the ocean
A blue whale. Credit: Grace Russell, The Fat Whales Project

With a quarter of the vote, the boo-tiful ghost bat is hanging on tight to the top spot in “Savanna Scurriers”. Not far behind is the northern hairy-nosed wombat (18%) and northern quoll (17%), which don’t look to be heading south any time soon!

Then there’s the eastern pebble-mound mouse (3.5%), which constructs elaborate rock formations but is failing to build a following in this competition.

Want to change the score and see some surprise shifts in next week’s match report? The mammals can’t do much about it, but you can! Vote early and vote often, and don’t forget to keep an eye out for more daily species profiles written by mammal experts – you might

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