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Numbat

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Numbat
Myremecobiidae ( Numbat).jpg
Scientific Classification
Subspecies
  • M. f. rufus
  • M. f. fasciatus
Synonyms
Numbat Range
Numbat range.png

The numbat is an ant eating marsupial known by the scientific name as Myrmecobius fasciatus, which is also known as the Banded Anteater or Walpurti. The numbats are commonly found in southwest Western Australia, and its diet consists of ants and termites in a woodland area. This small group of species ended up on the list endangered of species. The numbat is on the emblem of Western Australia and is protective by government programs.[1]

Anatomy

The numbat is a small animal, about the size of a small cat. It is between 13 to 18 inches long ,that includes the tail. The numbat weights from, 63 to 1.2 pounds. The tail is bushy and about the same length as the body. The head is long and narrow and has a very pointed nose. The two ears are fairly small and round- tipped. The numbat has two, easy to see, black stripes, one on each side, which run from the tip of the nose through the eye to the base of each ear. Most of its body has dark stripes which run from the belly over the back to the belly again, almost as on a Zebra. The belly or underside is creamy white or grey.[2]

The numbat is diurnal, which means it is active during the day. Its diet is ants and termites. The animal has a very long sticky tongue with which it can reach the termites in their colonies. The numbat also has strong forelimbs with claws for digging into the soil and the termite colonies. The food it eats is soft. Its teeth are nonfunctional and it cannot chew. [3]

Reproduction

Male and female are territorial and live a solitary life. At the beginning of the mating season, the male numbat will roam far away from their own territories in search of a mate. Normally numbats are protective of their territories which can be as large as 150 hectors in size, but during breeding season it will be different because they are looking for suitable mates. The numbats breed in a four month period, between December and April. They bread only once a year and the female gives birth from two to up to four babies which stays close to the mother.[4]

Unlike the Kangaroo, the mother has no pouch to protect their young ones. The babies are exposed to the elements, but the mother has long hair to protect the young ones. The mother and her litter have a nest in a burrow which can be in a hollow fallen tree. Several months later the mother numbat leaves the nest to go foraging during the day. At night she returnees to suckle the young. By October the young are able to begin foraging for themselves but they stay with their mother. Altogether the young numbats stay with their mother for about nine months. Then they are able to forage by themselves and the new breeding cycle beings again.[5]

Ecology

Behavior: Numbats hunt during day time. They are solitary they stay each one by itself and not in groups. The numbats hide and sleep in hollow logs which protect them from larger such as the red fox. Most of the day time they, are looking for food or eating. Numbats usually move quick and they can climb trees. [6]

Diet: The numbat is called Myrmecofius fasciatus which means he is an ant eater. His primary diets are termites and ants which live in colonies. In colonies live thousands of termites or ants and their larva, which, imagine it would be delicious to eat. The termites on wood and decayed wood, the numbat becomes part of the ecology, helping to keep the forest clean. It has a long pointed noes and an even longer sticky tongue which is perfect to slurp up all the termites and larva they can get. The numbats has no other diet that we know of. [7]

Conservation status: The numbats have suffered severely and ended up on the endangered species list. Ever since the white man moved to Australia the numbat population has decline. One of the reasons is the red fox which was brought from European. At one time the decantation was so several that less than 1,000 numbats where living in two small area in Southern Australia. When man started controlling the fox the population, the number of numbats increases very quickly. They natural predators are birds such as Little Eagle, Brown Goshawk, and Collared Sparrowhawk. Also snakes such at Carpet Python. Domestic predators are cats, domestic dogs, and dingoes.[8]

History

The Numbat was discover by the European fairly late, the year was 1831, when two explorer spotted this cat like,unique looking animals in the forest. It was not easily to each because it was hiding in hollow logs. When they saw the long narrow noes and the sticky tongue they figure it must be dieting on ants. As serialization increased numbat population decreased. At the numbat would have disappeared complete. If man would have not taken extra stop to protect the environment for this animal. They controlled the fox population. We, as humans, have to be on the watch to create positive environment for the numbat or soon they will disappear. [9]

References