Species profile

Gile's Planigale

Gile's Planigale

Range and abundance

Gile’s Planigale occurs in arid and semi-arid areas in south-west and south-central Queensland, western New South Wales, eastern South Australia and far north-western Victoria. It is relatively common across its range within its preferred habitat of deep cracking grey soils.

Description

Gile’s Planigale is a small carnivorous marsupial with a body measuring 60 - 80 mm and tail of 55 - 70 mm. Males weigh around 9.5 - 16 g, and females 5 - 9 g. It has a flattened triangular head and flattened body, and its ears are broad, rounded and flattened against the head. The claws are black, and the fur is brindled cinnamon-grey above and lighter below.  It moves low to the ground, with feet splayed to the sides.

Ecology

This species lives in habitats on deep cracking grey soils, such as clay-pans, grassy plains, inter-dune expanses and creek flats. It shelters during the heat of the day, and from predators, in soil cracks, within which it is very adept at travelling. Its flattened body shape and broad dexterous feet with flexible ankle joints enables it to utilise even very narrow soil spaces. It feeds mainly on invertebrates and also small lizards and occasionally small mammals. In good seasons the tail stores fat and becomes swollen. Breeding occurs from mid-July to late January and females have one or two litters of 6 - 8 young in a season. Gestation is 16 days and the young are raised in a backward-opening pouch. Young become independent at around 65 days. Gile’s Planigale is short-lived, with many only surviving for two years.

Threats

Changes in flooding regimes affect soil properties; dams or impoundments may flood the habitat of this species. Over-grazing may compact the soil, potentially affecting the crack structure. Cats and foxes are also a potential threat to this species, although its capacity to utilise soil cracks provides it with some refuge.

What is AWC doing?

AWC protects the habitat of the Gile’s Planigale by reducing numbers of feral herbivores and predators on Bowra.

Did you know:

Gile’s Planigale makes surprisingly loud vocalisations associated with aggressive or defensive behaviour. The sounds have been described as a “chh, chh, “ca, ca” and high pitched twittering like a bird.