Crest-tailed Mulgara


Australian Museum

Australian Museum

Crest-tailed Mulgara, Dasycercus cristicauda

Where do they live?
Crest-tailed Mulgaras live in Central Australia along the border of South Australia and the Northern Territory.

What is their habitat?
The Crest-tailed Mulgara is a desert dweller, favouring life in sand dunes with Sandhill Canegrass and around salt lakes with Nitre Bush (salt-tolerant shrubs). They spend much of the day sheltering from the heat in short burrows.

What’s special about them?
Mulgaras don’t drink. But they do have highly developed kidneys that excrete very concentrated urine to preserve water. They are hydrated by the food they eat instead. Their dry pellets of poo have the same function – not a drop of precious fluid is wasted.

What do they eat?
These Mulgaras are carnivorous and forage, mostly at night, in the sand dunes for insects and small creatures like baby snakes, lizards and mammals.

How do they reproduce?
Very little is known about the species, but the breeding season is thought to be in the cooler months, from June to October. The female is pregnant for at least a month and she can produce up to eight young in a litter.

What else do I need to know?
Crest-tailed Mulgaras are related to Tasmanian Devils and Quolls. They are marsupials (the females have a pouch with eight teats inside) covered in tan to ginger fur on top of their bodies and a lighter creamy white colour on the belly. They sport a cheeky, Mohawk-like crest of black hairs along the end of the tail. The tail can measure up to 12.5 centimetres while they can grow up to 23 centimetres.

Where do they fit in the tree of life?
Species: cristicauda
Genus: Dasycercus
Family: Dasyuridae
Order: Dasyuromorphia
Class: Mammalia
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Phylum: Chordata
Kingdom: Animalia

What is their conservation status?
Crest-tailed Mulgaras have an IUCN listing of Least Concern.
In Australia, Crest-tailed Mulgaras are considered Vulnerable.

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  • Title: Crest-tailed Mulgara
  • Creator: Babs-Bert-Wells
  • Publisher: Australian Museum