Crest-tailed Mulgara

Crest-tailed Mulgara walking on sandy ground at night
A nocturnal Crest-tailed Mulgara came scurrying through our campsite during the night

What does it look like?  Generally pale yellowish-brown above, tail with reddish-brown base and latter two-thirds black with a hairy dorsal crest towards tip. Underparts greyish white, female with pouch, limbs short and with five toes on each foot. Ears short and rounded, and snout pointed.

Where is it found?  Arid deserts of south-eastern NT, north-eastern SA and far south-western Qld.

What are its habitats & habits?  Sparsely vegetated fringes of salt lakes and sand dunes, where it constructs complex network of tunnels at the base of grassy tussocks and shrubs, including Sandhill Canegrass, and hunts around dunes, mostly at night, for a range of invertebrates and small vertebrates, supplemented with some fruits and seeds. Female has 8 teats, with up to 8 young (average 5), born in winter or early spring.

Interesting fact:  Until 2005 was grouped with Brush-tailed Mulgara D. blythi, with which it overlaps in range within the Simpson Desert.

Scientific name: Dasycercus cristicauda  

Size: 250-355mm TL, including tail 100-125 mm (males generally larger than females)

Also known as: Mulgara; Ampurta; Crest-tailed Marsupial Mouse

Do you want to know more about Australia’s mammals? Check out our latest book “The Naturalist’s Guide to Mammals of Australia” – available for purchase at major retailers or directly from us