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Numbat

The Numbat, Myrmecobius fasciatus, or Walpurti is also called the Banded Ant Eater.  The Numbat is a Marsupial, unlike the other Australian Ant Eater, the Echidna, which is a Monotreme.

The Numbat is the faunal emblem of Western Australia, but almost went extinct.

Diet

As with most of the animals referred to as anteaters, the main part of the Numbat’s Diet is Termites.  They will eat true Ants occasionally.  The Numbat is the only Marsupial that eats only insects.  It can eat up to about 20,000 Termites a day.  This is about ten percent if its body weight.

Activity

The Numbat is the only Marsupial that is active mainly during the day.

Range

The natural range of the Numbat is most of the southern Australian mainland.  They were almost completely wiped out by Foxes, and were confined to a small area of Western Australia.

Large scale Fox baiting has been carried out in Western Australia and native animals are making a comeback.  This includes Numbats.  The Numbat Numbers have now built up to about 2000; other populations are being re-established in Western and South Australia.

Breeding

Marsupials are pouched animals.  The Numbat is unusual among Marsupials in not having a pouch.

After a pregnancy lasting about 14 days, up to 4 babies are born.  They crawl to the teats and cling to the mother’s fur while sucking milk.  At about 5 months old, the Babies are put into a nest and the mother comes back regularly to feed them.

Future

If Foxes are exterminated in Australia, Numbats have a reasonably hopeful future.

Sources

http://www.perthzoo.wa.gov.au/Animals--Plants/Australia/Australian-Bushwalk/Numbat/

http://www.australianfauna.com/numbat.php

http://www.kidcyber.com.au/topics/Numbat.htm

http://australian-animals.net/numbat.htm

http://www.zooaquarium.org.au/numbat/default.aspx

http://www.numbat.org.au/

http://teachit.acreekps.vic.edu.au/animals/numbat.htm

http://www.naturebase.net/component/option,com_kb/page,articles/articleid,13/

 
Numbat
Martybugs at en.wikipedia [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons.
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Numbat at Perth Zoo
By Gnangarra (own work, digital photograph)[see page for license], via Wikimedia Commons.
Photographs by Gnangarra...commons.wikimedia.org