A huddle of phascogales at Kojonup Reserve

on 14 May 2014 

This is our fourth year of monitoring the translocated population of red-tailed phascogales at our Kojonup Reserve and they're doing well. We recorded at least 12 animals from Elliott traps and artificial nest boxes last week. 

Most of the 30 nest boxes are being used and the animals make a large ball nest inside the box out of wool, sticks, leaves and feathers. They raid other nest boxes for material and some of the nests now fill the whole nest box. We put up 20 new nest boxes last week and will check them later in the year to see if the phascogales are using them. The photograph of the huddle of phascogales was taken the day we were checking all nest boxes and shows 3 males together in a nest, probably for extra warmth. These males will be competing frantically for females and the stress of mating results in their death at around 11 months of age. The females can live up to 3 years and have up to 6 young each year. 

We also trialed a new inspection camera this year which was inserted into the nest box to see if it was occupied. It worked well except for the nests that were full of material. It will be fascinating to use small video cameras later this year to see the comings and goings of the females and young around the nest boxes.