Red-tailed Phascogales

Last updated: Friday 27 May, 2016

(Phascogale calura)

Ecologist Angela Sanders with a Red-tailed Phascogale. Photo Annette Ruzicka.
Ecologist Angela Sanders with a Red-tailed Phascogale. Photo Annette Ruzicka.
The red-tailed phascogale is a carnivorous marsupial that lives off insects, spiders and small birds. It averages only 10cm in length, but can make leaps of up to 2 metres.

When the sun goes down the red-tailed phascogales get into action, performing giant leaps between branches and trees. This particular breed of phascogale is recognisable by its distinctive tail - rust coloured at the top with a black and bushy end.

Male phascogale usually live no longer than a year due to the stress of competing for females in the mating season. Females may live for about three years, and give birth to up to six young per year.

Habitat

Red-tailed phascogales were once spread through central and western Australia, but are now restricted to the southern wheat belt of Western Australia. Their preferred habitat is dense, mature forests which provide them with tree hollows. A translocated population is doing well on our Kojonup Reserve.

Ecologist Angela Sanders supervises volunteers setting up a nesting box for relocated Red-tailed Phascogales.
Ecologist Angela Sanders supervises volunteers setting up a nesting box for relocated Red-tailed Phascogales.
Status and threats

Phascogale are listed as nationally 'endangered' under the EPBC (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation) Act.  Their threats include fragmentation due to the loss of natural habitat and predation by foxes and cats.

Protecting Red-tailed Phascogales

We've been working with the Western Australia Department of Environment and Conservation to give these marsupials a home. Trees on Bush Heritage’s Kojonup Reserve have been fitted with wool-lined boxes for the phascogales to nest in safely. The Western Australia Department of Environment and Conservation has also been involved in a Kojonup Reserve project to fit the phascogale with tracking collars to enable further research on the species.

 

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