Cardboard shelters offer adorable woodland creatures protection after brush fires

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In Australia, Macquarie University professor Alexandra Carthey has created biodegradable shelters for small critters that often struggle in the wake of brush fires. The six-sided cardboard pyramids are easy to deploy and biodegrade as the forest recovers, says Carthey, a research fellow in the Department of Biological Science. 

She noted that similar shelters exist for tree-dwelling creatures like bats and bees, but the ground animals like possums and bandicoots often have no recourse post-fire. “A lot of their life, the behavioral decisions they make, and just how they go about their day, is about trying not to get eaten,” Carthey tells The Lighthouse. “They are hardwired to seek the safety of cover. And if you provide it, they will find it. After a bushfire, the thick grasses, leafy bushes, dropped bark, and leaf litter that small critters normally hide under have  been burnt away. For the predator, it’s like suddenly spotting your prey across a mown grass lawn.”