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Numbat: Myrmecobiidae - Physical Characteristics

fur toes numbats white

Numbats, sometimes called banded anteaters, are small marsupial mammals that live in the southwestern region of Western Australia. Considered to be one of the most beautiful and distinctively marked marsupials, numbats are the only species of the Myrmecobiidae family.

Numbats are small, four-legged animals that are a little larger than rats. Weighing about 1 pound (0.45 kilograms), they range in total length from 12 to 19 inches (30 to 47 centimeters). Their tails can be 5 to 8 inches (13 to 20 centimeters) long. Their front feet have five toes and their back feet have four toes. All of the toes have strong claws to help them dig quickly for termites, their preferred food. They also have an extraordinarily long tongue that they use to gather the termites from underground and from holes in rotting trees. Unlike other marsupials, the female numbat does not have a pouch to carry her young, but she does have four nipples on her underside. The young cling to the nipples on her belly while they develop.

The numbat has coarse, short fur that varies in color from grayish brown to reddish brown. The numbat is distinctively marked with a series of five to seven white stripes that run across its rump and lower back. A black band bordered by two white bands runs on each side of the head from the snout through the eye and to the base of the ear. Their underside has paler fur and the fur on their tail is long.

Numbat: Myrmecobiidae - Diet [next]

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