Photo: Courtesy of
Robynn and Larry Butler
Striped Possum: Dactylopsila trivirgata
- Slightly built with a variable pattern of black and white stripes which run along the length of its body.
- Toes are highly furred and elongated, with the fourth finger particularly elongated.
- Has a clinging pungent odour
- Has an unusual way of walking, that is, along horizontal branches with a rowing action (simultaneous swinging movement of diagonally opposite limbs).
- Its position can usually be traced by the noises of its slurping and chewing, or from the falling of litter from its perch.
- Quite sparse in Australia, more widespread in Papua New Guinea.
- Food finding activities include searching through tree trunks, limbs and fallen rotting logs to find grubs and other insects.
- It uses its sharp lower incisors to break away the bark, or its tongue to extract insects from deep holes and cracks.
- Striped possums are particularly adept at locating and teasing beetle larvae out of dead wood, using their elongated fourth fingers. Logs prised apart by striped possums are a common sight in the lowland Wet Tropics. (Source: Environmental Protection Agency)
- Also feeds on leaves, fruit, small vertebrates and the honey of native bees.
- Even though its a conspicuous animal, the fact that the Striped Possum is a rare and shy animal makes it one of the least known possums in Australia.
- Because of the speed at which it moves, unless it is feeding on insects in a rotted tree trunk, it is an extremely difficult possum to view.
- Most sightings are made by chance while spotlighting for other possum species.
- Many sightings have been had along the top road at Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodge.
- Other areas include The Crater National Park, the Malanda falls Environmental Park walking paths,
The Curtain Fig Tree and along the roadway on Thomas Road.
- Other common names for the Striped Possum include the Striped Phalanger, White-footed Phalanger and the Common Striped Possum.
- In Australia It is widely distributed throughout rainforests and adjacent woodlands from Mount Spec in Queensland to the tip of Cape York Peninsula.
- It is a nocturnal animal, thus spending its days sleeping in a leafy nest inside a tree hollow, or amongst epiphytes that have grown into clumps.
- Almost nothing is known about the Striped Possums social life, and the reason for its strong, musty odour is not understood.
- Mating usually occurs between February and August. Up to 2 young are born, and there are 2 teats in the pouch. The average weight of the Striped Possum is 246-390g.
Additional Information: Environment Protection Agency:
Additional Striped Possum Photo
Additional Striped Possum 2 Photo
Additional Striped Possum 3 Photo