Stripe-faced Dunnart, Sminthopsis macroura

The stripe-faced dunnart (Sminthopsis macroura) is a marsupial that is native to Australia. Its range extends from the Pilbara to central Northern Territory, from western and central Queensland to South Australia, and into north and west New South Wales. It prefers a habitat within tussock grasslands, scrublands, and sandy soil types where dune hummock grasslands can grow.

This marsupial can reach an average body length between 6.1 to 7.7 inches, including the tail, with an average weight of up to .8 ounces. The tail is thick at the base and tapers out at the end. It bears a dark stripe that extends from the top of the head to the nose, from which it derives its common name.

The stripe-faced dunnart’s mating season occurs between the months of July and February, and this species has the shortest pregnancy of any mammal, reaching only eleven days. Six to eight joeys, or babies, are born after this short period and will remain in their mother’s pouch for up to forty days. These animals can have up to two litters per year.

The diet of the stripe-face dunnart consists of small invertebrates like spiders and termites, but it will also consume small reptiles. It appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Least Concern”, but on the NSW Threatened Species website, it is listed as “Vulnerable”.

Image Caption: Sminthopsis macroura (orig. Podabrus macrourus). Credit: John Gould/Wikipedia