Damaged leaves, flowers, fruit and bark can indicate the presence of pest animals. Observe which plants are affected, which parts are damaged, and details such as bite marks.
Think about the height at which you find vegetation damage. If it is in the treetops (three or more metres above ground), ground-dwelling pest animal culprits can be ruled out. Remember that some ground-dwelling animals have a long reach e.g. some deer will rear up on their hind legs to get tasty morsels; e.g. goats and wallabies will climb sloping ground or trees. Also, look for animal sign at a range of scales. From a distance, you might see widespread defoliation in the canopy of bush or hrubland and you might notice certain plant species are more damaged than others. In the understorey environment see whether seedlings and ground layer plants have been browsed or are absent, and whether particular plant species are more affected than others.
Zoom in, too, on the detail of damage pest animals might inflict on foliage, flowers, fruit and bark. Clues at this scale include bite marks, ripped leaves, selection of plant species and scratch marks.
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