The phascogales also known as wambengers, are carnivorous Australian marsupials of the family Dasyuridae. There are three species of phascogales: the brush-tailed phascogale, the red-tailed phascogale and the northern brush-tailed phascogale. Red-tailed phascogales are recognisable by their distinctive tail – rust coloured at the top with a black and bushy end. Measuring 10cm in the body and weighing 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. One of their primary threats is habitat loss and fragmentation from the widespread clearing of habitat for agriculture and development and changed fire regimes. Foxes are a threat when phascogales are active on the ground, but they can escape to the trees. Cats, however, are able to climb and can significantly impact on a population.
Once widespread through the southern half of Australia, surviving populations of Red-tailed Phascogales are mostly restricted to remnants of native vegetation throughout the wheatbelt region of WA. Their preferred habitat is dense, mature forests of Wandooand and Sheoak, which provide them with tree hollows.
The Red-tailed Phascogale is a carnivorous marsupial that lives off insects, spiders and small birds.
Red-tailed phascogales are territorial and the females will come back to the same nesting sites year after year, with 3 or 4 sites that they’ll use. Males move, on average, three to four times as far as females, with the greatest disparity during the July mating season. As with some other small dasyurids (carnivorous marsupials), each year all males die within a month of mating. While males can live up to 11 months, females can survive up to 36 months, reproducing two or three times in their lifetime. The gestation period is 28-30 days, and while up to 13 young may be born, the maximum litter size that can be reared is eight (adult females only have 8 nipples). From August to October they’ll remain dependent on their mothers, but they’ll have weaned and dispersed to set up their own home ranges by the end of summer.