The Red-Tailed Phascogale is a small tree-dwelling, native and nocturnal marsupial. Once widespread across southern Australia, it now only survives between Narrogin, Lake Grace and Kojonup, making the Shire of Katanning one of the last locations to find this beauty.
Loss of habitat and predation by cats have reduced populations, but Katanning Landcare, in partnership with the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife and the Federal Government’s Communities Environment Program, are calling for members of the community to ‘host’ a Phascogale nesting box on their property. The nests are made locally in Katanning with help from community groups, can be installed FREE OF CHARGE by Katanning Landcare professionals, and require little input from property owners, other than to sit back and watch these beautiful, yet declared ‘vulnerable’, marsupials!
The Red-Tailed Phascogale is recognisable by its distinctive tail – rust coloured at the top with a black and bushy end. It is a carnivorous marsupial that lives off insects, spiders and small birds and measures only 10cm in the body and weighs just 60g (about the weight of a chicken egg). It moves at blink-and-you-miss-it speeds, leaping up to two metres in a single bound!
Their preferred habitat is dense, mature forests of Wandoo (Eucalyptus wandoo) and Sheoak (Allocasuarina huegeliana), which provide them with tree hollows, however with clearing we are seeing Phasocogales move to areas with rough, barked trees and healthy canopy cover for protection.
The nesting boxes provide an alternative to tree hollows, and will be placed on a suitable tree (by our professionals) facing in a east/south direction to provide shelter from the elements. It will be ideally installed at a height of 3m above ground level to reduce chances of predation by cats and goanna.
They’re territorial and the females will come back to the same nesting sites year after year, so it’s vital that we create suitable habitat for nesting.
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