Nature conservation

Threatened species

Mulgara - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Dasycercus cristicauda
Conservation status in NSW: Presumed Extinct
Commonwealth status: Vulnerable
Profile last updated: 05 Aug 2019


The Mulgara (Dasycercus cristicauda) is a compactly built mammal with short limbs, a broad head, short ears, and a pointed muzzle. The head and body length varies from 125 to 220 mm, and tail length is 70 to 130mm. The upper parts of this mammal vary from buffy to bright red brown, and the underparts are usually white or creamy. The pelage is close and soft, and it consists principally of underfur with few guard hairs. The tail is usually thickened for about 2/3 of its length and near the body is densely covered with coarse, chestnut hairs. In the middle, the hairs are coarse and black, and they increase in length toward the tip to form a distinct dorsal crest. The pouch area consists of only slightly developed lateral skin folds.


This species inhabits the arid region from the Pilbara in northwestern Australia to southwestern Queensland.

Habitat and ecology

  • Mulgaras inhabit the arid, sandy regions of Australia. They lives in burrows that they dig on the flats between low sand-dunes or on the slopes of high dunes. The complexity of the burrow varies. Burrows in central Australia usually have only one entrance with two or three side tunnels and numerous pop-holes, while those in Queensland have more than one entrance and deeper branching tunnels.
  • Mulgaras remain active throughout the day and night, with most foraging occurring at night. A mulgara avoids exposure to heat during the hot part of the day by remaining in its burrow. However, it basks in the sun whenever the opportunity arises. When sunning, the body is flattened against the substrate, and the tail twitches sporadically. Mulgaras are territorial however in captivity, they can be kept in pairs, and they generally do not fight among themselves, appearing quite solicitous of each other.
  • The diet of Mulgaras includes insects, other arthropods and small vertebrates. Mulgaras are able to consume 25% of their own weight in food and can subsist without drinking water or even eating succulent plants, because it is able to extract sufficient water from a diet of lean meat or mice. A Mulgara attacks a mouse and other small vertebrates with lightning speed. It then devours the animal methodically from head to tail, inverting the skin in a remarkably neat fashion. It also is skillfull at dislodging insects from crevices by means of its tiny forepaws.
  • Little is known about Mulgaras' breeding in the wild. However in captivity, the breeding season begins in mid May and lasts about six weeks. Gestation is approximately 30 days and the litter size is six to eight. Females nurse their young in the pouch and care for them until they reach independence. The young first detach from the nipples at about 55 days and are independent at four months. Individuals of both sexes have been known to come into breeding condition each year for six years, suggesting that they are fairly long-lived animals.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Other StateSA Known None