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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.
  • 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 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.

Additional Information: Environment Protection Agency:

  • 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.
  • 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 Striped Possum Photo
Additional Striped Possum 2 Photo
Additional Striped Possum 3 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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