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Endangered or elusive?

June 11, 2014
Stumpy looking for a retail store

Stumpy looking for a re-tail store

When we arrived in Flowerdale the Brush-tailed Phascogale (Phascogale tapoatafa) had mythical status, sort of like a Bunyip. Published reports variously classified it as rare, threatened or vulnerable. Indeed bushfires, the loss and fragmentation of its forest habitat and its unusual breeding cycle mean it is a ‘species in decline’. After the ’09 fires we installed a remote sensing camera on our birdbath and were thrilled when we photographed one of these critters having a drink (click HERE to view). We considered ourselves lucky to have seen it.

IMG_0022However, in recent times up to three or four phascogales are turning up at our birdbath on a nightly basis. They can be identified individually by their physical differences. Take ‘Stumpy’ for example, pictured above. Presumably an altercation with another phascogale has left it with a defect on the very feature that provides its name.


IMG_0069 (2)A couple of week ago we discovered an unusual looking opening in the trunk of a Long-leaved Box (Eucalyptus goniocalyx). The cavity behind the entrance extended upwards so we guessed it was not the home of a possum or phascogale but could be the possible living quarters of bats. A week of monitoring with the remote camera turned up no bats, only a curious Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) joey, pictured above, and, you guessed it, a phascogale, pictured left.

Now, either phascogales are endangered and we have been extremely fortunate to have photographed the one creature in the area on the very tree we were interested in. Or they are as common as rabbits but are elusive, and because they get around at night, rarely seen. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle … at least in our area.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Di Foletta permalink
    June 11, 2014 10:40 am

    We have yet to see one in Whanregarwen


  1. Caught out late | Focus On Fauna

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