Bushy-tailed critter living life in the fast lane

Next time you are out in the forest at night in one of these areas, look up to the canopy and you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a Brush-tailed Phascogale moving through the trees on the lookout for a delicious spider.


Queensland Museum

Brush-tailed Phascogale

Have you ever heard of the Brush-tailed Phascogale? 

These small nocturnal marsupials are extremely shy and cryptic animals that predominantly live in trees and nest in tree hollows. 

They have grey fur and as their name suggests, they have a distinctive black brush-like tail that helps them keep their balance as they swiftly move through the forest.

Related to Quolls and Tassie Devils, Brush-tailed Phascogales are carnivorous (meat-eating) and their meals mainly consist of large insects and spiders, but also of small reptiles and mammals, or sometimes even nectar for a touch of sweetness. 

They look for food under tree bark and in rotting wood, often tearing bark off with their teeth. 

Fast-paced but short lives

The lives of these bushy-tailed critters are fast-paced, but short. They reproduce when they reach 11 months of age, during the late autumn – early winter, and at the conclusion of a frenzied period of continuous mating lasting several weeks, males die before even reaching their first birthday. 

Females, however, can live up to three years of age. 

A Brush-tailed Phascogale lying in the branch of a tree. It look soft and has grey fur and a black brush like tail.

Where you can find them on the Sunshine Coast

Across the Sunshine Coast, Brush-tailed Phascogales occur across the Conondale and Blackall ranges, and one of the Council reserves where the species was previously observed is Tuan Environment Reserve in Cambroon. 

Native name Tuan - like the environment reserve

Did you know that Brush-tailed Phascogales are also known by their native name, Tuan, and that our Council reserve was named after the elusive mammal? 

The Brush-tailed Phascogale is listed as a threatened species, and the main causes of the species’ decline on the Sunshine Coast currently appear to be habitat loss and predation by foxes and cats.  

How can you help?

A lot of Australian native animals are nocturnal, please keep your pets in at night to keep Phascogales and other wildlife safe.

Plant native shrubs and trees in your backyard to provide food and shelter to our local wildlife.

Keep any large hollow-bearing trees you have on your property for Phascogales and other hollow-nesting wildlife, like Parrots or Possums, to build their nest in.



Sunshine Coast Council acknowledges the Sunshine Coast Country, home of the Kabi Kabi peoples and the Jinibara peoples, the Traditional Custodians, whose lands and waters we all now share. We wish to pay respect to their Elders – past, present and emerging, and acknowledge the important role First Nations people continue to play within the Sunshine Coast community.

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