Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Mammals » Numbat: Myrmecobiidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, NUMBATS AND PEOPLE

Numbat: Myrmecobiidae - Diet

numbats termites tongue eating

Numbats mainly eat termites—their pointed snouts allow them to sniff out the insects underground. They then use their sharp claws to dig small holes and retrieve the termites from underground tunnels using their long, slender tongues. The numbat's tongue can extend as much as 4 inches (10 centimeters) from its mouth. Saliva on the tongue makes the termites stick to it, so that the numbat can quickly pull its tongue back into its mouth with the termites attached. The numbat's salivary glands are large to provide enough saliva for this kind of eating. Another way that numbats find termites is by turning over fallen branches and sticks using their snout and front paws. A numbat that was studied in captivity ate between 10,000 and 20,000 termites per day. In the course of eating termites, ants and other insects sometimes also are consumed. Numbats do not chew their food, even though they have more teeth (between forty-eight and fifty-two of them) than any other marsupial.


Whenever an new animal is introduced into an environment, there can be unexpected consequences. The red fox was introduced when Europeans arrived in Australia. For numbats and several other Australian species, the introduction of this animal was disastrous. Numbats had not evolved ways to protect themselves against this new, non-native predator. As a result, foxes killed thousands of numbats and numbat populations substantially decreased. Only by starting programs to lessen the number of red foxes could the numbats be saved.

Numbat: Myrmecobiidae - Behavior And Reproduction [next] [back] Numbat: Myrmecobiidae - Physical Characteristics

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or

Vote down Vote up

over 7 years ago

you cant spell

Vote down Vote up

over 7 years ago

this is very horry bul.