Red-cheeked Dunnart, Sminthopsis virginiae

The red-cheeked dunnart (Sminthopsis virginiae) is marsupial that is native to Australia and New Guinea. It holds three subspecies that occur in many areas within its range. It prefers habitats within savannah grasslands, swamps, woodlands, open and rocky forests, and small portions of tropical forests.

The red-cheeked dunnart can reach an average body length of 10.6 inches, including the tail, and a weight between .6 and 2.6 ounces. It has a thin, pink tail. It bears distinctive red markings on each side of its face, from which it derives its name.

Its behavior is not well documented, but the typical breeding season of this species occurs between October and March.  Young are weaned at up to seventy days, and adults are able to breed multiple times throughout the year. The diet of the red-cheeked dunnart is comprised mainly of small reptiles. It appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Least Concern”.

Image Caption: Phascologale virginiae. Credit: Joseph Smit/Wikipedia