Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodges
Tropical North Queensland, Australia.
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Striped Possum

Striped Possum
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.

Social Behaviour:

  • 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.

Viewing Opportunities:

  • 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.

Additional Information:

  • Other common names for the Striped Possum include the Striped Phalanger, White-footed Phalanger and the Common Striped Possum.
  • It is widely distributed throughout rainforests and adjacent woodlands from Mount Spec in Queensland to the tip of Cape York Peninsula. It is more common in Papua New Guinea.
  • 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 Possum’s 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.

Striped Possum: Dactylopsila trivirgata

It has a distinctive black and white stripped coat with a pronounced white Y on the face. Longer than a black rat in the body, it has a large head, a long body and bushy tail, prominent ears and an elongated fourth finger.

This energetic possum digs for grubs in rotting wood and also eats fruit and flowers. Although usually found in rainforest, from the wet tropics to the tip of the Cape York Peninsula, it may venture well in eucalypt woodland.
Script: Courtesy of of Environmental Protection Agency

Additional Stripped Possum Photo
Additional Stripped Possum 2 Photo

Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodges
Lake Eacham, Atherton Tablelands
Tropical North Queensland, Australia.
PH & Fax: 07 4095 3754 International: 61 7 4095 3754

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