Phascogales

The red-tailed phascogale lives in forest in just one place in Western Australia.

The brush-tailed phascogale is found in more places in Australia.

Both kinds are awake at night and asleep in the day.

They spend most of their time in trees.

Both kinds nest in a leaf-lined hole in a tree.

There are two kinds of phascogale. They are small Australian marsupials.

 Red-tailed phascogale

Habitat and distribution (where they are found)
The red-tailed phascogale is now found only in one small area in the southwestern corner of Western Australia, but used to be common all over Australia.

They are found in dry eucalypt forests.

Appearance and Behaviours
The red-tailed phascogale is one of the few Australian marsupials without a pouch. It is about 240-270 cm long, with soft, grey fur with creamy fur underneath the body. It has a long tail with a bushy tip. The upper part of the tail is red, and this gives the animal its name.

The red-tailed phascogale is nocturnal, which means the animals are awake and active at night and asleep through the heat of the day. They shelter during the day in a tree hollow lined with leaves.

Diet
Although they are agile climbers and jumpers, they find most of their food - small insects, birds and rodents - on the ground. They don't need to drink water, as their food provides enough moisture for them.

Life Cycle
Mating takes place in July. A male often dies soon after mating. Females give birth to 6-8 young about a month after mating. Females have one litter a year. Young are kept in a nest. They are weaned, which means they stop feeding on their mother's milk, at 20 weeks of age. Females live for about 4 years.

Conservation Status
The Red-tailed Phascogale is classified as endangered
. Its numbers and the area in which it lives have been severely reduced since European settlement mainly due to habitat destruction, but also because they are killed by introduced animals such as cats and foxes.

Find more information about the red-tailed phascogale here:
http://www.animalinfo.org/species/phascalu.htm


Brush-tailed phascogale (also called tuan)

Habitat and distribution (where they are found)
The brush-tailed phascogale is found in patches around the coast of Australia. It prefers open forests but is also found in rainforest and swamp areas.

Appearance and Behaviours
The brush-tailed phascogale is larger than the red-tailed phascogale, with a body length of 20cm and a tail 20cm long. It has grey fur with creamy fur underneath. Its ears are not furry and its eyes are big and black. It tail is black and bushy, but does not wrap around branches to cling on. They spend most of their time in the trees, and are usually solitary (alone).

Diet
They feed mostly on insects, beetles and spiders, but they do also eat nectar and small reptiles and mammals. They use their fingers to get food from under bark and in cracks.

Life Cycle
Mating generally happens between May and July. All males die soon after mating. Females give birth to about 6 young ones about 30 days after mating. Young stay in a pouch for about 7 weeks before being moved to a nest where they stay until they are weaned at about 20 weeks of age. Females live for about 3 years, and generally produce one litter.

Conservation Status
The brush-tailed phascogale is classified as vulnerable, and in some states it is endangered. The reasons for declining numbers is because of habitat loss, which includes the loss of older trees that have hollows in them for nesting. Introduced animals pose another threat: foxes and cats prey on phascogales, and the introduced honeybee uses tree hollows for making hives.

Find out more about brush-tailed phascogales here:
http://www.currumbin-sanctuary.org.au/content/standard.asp?name=BrushTailedPhascogale


Acknowledge this source in your bibliography like this:
Phascogales (2000). [Online], Available: www.kidcyber.com.au

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Updated August 2007