… it is not unheard of to come across a Brush-tailed Phascogale, also known as a Tuan, that looks like this.
Dead … as a door nail!
These captivating carnivorous marsupials have a fascinating, albeit brief, life history. Adults mate in late autumn, after which the entire population of male Tuans die, from stress-related diseases brought about by the energy expended from a frenzy of mating activity.
The females typically make their nest in hollow trees, bearing litters of 7 to 8 young which stay in the nest to the age of 5 months. They will also happily using artificial nest boxes, as this post from last month demonstrates. They are a threatened species in Victoria, suffering largely from habitat fragmentation and fox predation. The box-ironbark forests of central Victoria are one of their remaining strongholds.
Have you found a dead Tuan lately? I’d be interested to hear about it if you have.
Thanks to Meg and Jules of Welshman’s Reef for this handy observation.