Animals - Numbat
The numbat is a small-sized marsupial that is found in Western Australia. The numbat has long, colourful fur and despite being a marsupial, the female numbat does not have a pouch on her belly.
The numbat was once found across Southern Australia, but today the numbat is considered to be an endangered species as there are only a few small numbat colonies found in Western Australia today. It has been estimated that there are only 1,500 numbat individuals left in the wild.
Numbats inhabit forests and woodland, particularly those that are mainly made up of eucalyptus trees. Numbats have also been found in grasslands that are relatively close to water.
Numbats are solitary animals with large home ranges, which they spend the daylight hours hunting for termites and in the dark nights in hollow logs and burrows. Numbats have strong front claws and long tongues which they use to get termites out of their nests.
The numbat is an omnivorous animal but it's diet primarily consists of termites and occasionally ants and other small insects. An adult numbat can eat more than 20,000 termites in just one day.
Due to their small size, numbats are prey to a number of larger, predatory animals such as foxes, snakes, dingos and feral cats. Dogs also prey on numbats, along with birds of prey that prey on the smaller numbat babies.
The numbat breeding season is between January and May, when the female numbat gives birth to an average of 4 numbat babies after a gestation period of just a couple of weeks. The numbat babies quickly attach to the mother numbat's teat, where they are protected only by her long hair, as she does not have a pouch.
Numbat babies are not left by their mother until they are a few months old, when she leaves to search for food. The mother numbat leaves her young in a burrow and comes back to give them milk every now and again.
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