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Striped possum

Striped possum  Photo: EHP

Striped possum Photo: EHP

Common name: striped possum

Scientific name: Dactylopsila trivirgata

Family: Petauridae

Conservation status: The striped possum is listed as Least Concern under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992 and is ranked as a low priority under the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection Back on Track species prioritisation framework.

Description: The striped possum is hard to mistake, with its bold, skunk like appearance of striking black and white stripes along its body and a white tip to its tail. They have elongated slightly furred toes.

Habitat and distribution

The striped possum lives only in the upland and lowland forests of the Wet Tropics region of north Queensland from Mount Spec, near Townsville to Iron Range. It also Occurs in lowland New Guinea.

Life history and behaviour

The striped possum is a shy,solitary animal, venturing out at night to munch on flowers, fruits, beetle larvae and pollen. During the day, it rests on a bed of leaves inside a tree hollow or clump of ferns. In places with coconut palms, it's not unusual to hear a commotion as the possum uses its chisel-like teeth to gnaw through leaves and bark in search of insects causing shreds of leaves and trunk to fall to the ground. It will also bite into dead branches or fallen logs to get at borers or grubs. Mating may occur from February to August and up to two young are born.

The striped possum has a strong sweet musty odour, but the reason for this is unknown.

Listen

Listen to an audio clip of the striped possum (MP3 audio file, 93K)†

Related information

Menkhorst, P & Knight, F. 2001. A field guide to the mammals of Australia. Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

Van Dyck S 1995. 'Striped Possum' in The Mammals of Australia (ed. R. Strahan) Australian Museum and Reed New Holland, Sydney.

† Requires an appropriate media player

Last updated
3 October 2011