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Monito Del Monte: Microbiotheria


The monito del monte has a limited range in South America, in southern Chile, overlapping into Argentina, from Concepción, Chile, southward to and including the Chilean island of Chiloé, and inland to the Andes and just over the border into Argentina.

The monito del monte is mostly insectivorous, meaning that it forages for and eats insect larvae (LAR-vee) and pupae (PYOO-pee). They also eat some plant material. They do most of their foraging at night, in the trees and on the ground. In the Southern Hemisphere in autumn, the animals gorge, doubling their body weights in a week, most of the extra weight being fat packed into the base of the tail.

There is little interaction between these small, secretive animals and humans. In the Lake Region of Chile, a superstition holds that seeing a monito del monte in the home brings bad luck, and that the only cure is burning down the house. One the other hand, the animal's consumption of insects serves as a local control on insect populations.

Scientific value of the monito del monte is immense, because of its ancient origins and relationships.

Monitos del monte are listed as Vulnerable, facing a high risk of extinction in the wild, on the Red List of the World Conservation Union (IUCN). The main problem facing the species is ongoing deforestation.



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Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammals