Bushtail Possum or Brush-tailed Phascogale?

Wildlife Posted Dec 15, 2020
An RSPCA Ambulance officer attended to a call about an injured brushtail possum but once there it turned out to be a little marsupial known as a brush-tailed Phascogale.

Our RSPCA Ambulance officer Sarah attended to a call this week with a possible injured possum by a concerned member of the public, it was believed to have been injured and brought in by a cat. 

Did you know; cats kill 75 million native animals a day in Australia. That means 868 deaths every second*. Find out on ways to minimise impact domestic pets have on wildlife.

What thought to be a brushtail Possum in fact turned out to be a brush-tailed Phascogale. These small rat-like marsupials are nocturnal feeding on various insects and spiders with a typical dark grey colouring and cream underside. 

Phascogales otherwise known as Tuan's are a rarely seen species due to their shy behaviour and out of sight habitat. 

After a full examination it turned out that the Phascogale hadn't sustained any injuries and was in fact an adult female carrying a pouch full of little pinkies (7 in total). The female and babies were kept in for observation over the day and once given the all clear released back into the wild. 

Female Phascogale's live for 3 years and males generally die after mating around 1 years of age. 

*conservative estimations based on research findings; 2- Pimentel 2001; The Federal Environment Department's cat threat abatement plan, 2008.

Zoe Collins
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