RED-TAILED PHASCOGALE (Phascogale calura)
I love Australian names — if Phascogale isn’t complicated enough it is also known as the Red-tailed Wambenger. Either way, a big name for a little animal. This lightweight marsupial (1-2 ounces/35 to 70 grams) is around 4”/100mm (body +head) in length with a tail around 5-1/2”/140mm long. Its scientific name means “beautiful-tailed pouched-weasel”.
Though it is an arboreal species and as such a great leaper and climber, it forages for food mainly on the ground. The Red-tailed Phascogale has a varied diet, and can feed on insects and spiders, but also small birds and small mammals, notably the House Mouse (Mus musculus); it does not drink as its water is retained through its food.
Interesting to note: It prefers areas containing the Wandoo (Eucalyptus wandoo) and the Rock Sheoak (Allocasuarina huegeliana), and it has developed a resistance to the fluoroacetate the plants produce that is lethal to livestock. Most native animals have a resistance to this fluoracetate, but introduced species, like the Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes), do not, so it has been suggested that the Red-tailed Phascogale’s survival could be attributed to this chemical.
It may seem weird to talk about an animal’s tail and not show it, but I liked its face, the entire animals can be seen on the click-though or at any of the source links.
Other photos of Australian animals you may like:
Southern Hairy-Nose Wombat
A handful of Bandicoot
Galah or Roseate Cockatoo