Tuesday, 24 July 2007
It is said that Cassowaries are crucial to the survival of the rainforest since many seeds are too big to be distributed far from the source tree. Cassowaries swallow seeds whole and the action of their gut rasps off the softer parts which are digested. This leaves the majority of seeds entire in their droppings. This is a ready-made source of food for forest rats, birds and Musky Rat-Kangaroos. Many seeds survive and germinate thereby distributing the trees through the habitat. Research has shown that most seeds are processed within about a kilometer from their source.
In addition to plant material, Cassowaries eat a considerable amount of animal material when available. They readily eat beetles, moths and grasshoppers and other insects. They have been observed feeding on road kills and there are reliable reports of the birds eating Cane Toads (Bufo marinus) without any ill effects.
The photos show the fresh poo and its contents and then a few days later after the forest fauna has had a go at picking over the seeds.