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Numbat: Myrmecobiidae

Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation StatusGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, NUMBATS AND PEOPLE

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, when Europeans began to settle in Australia, numbats occupied a much larger area than they do today. At that time, numbats lived in the southern half of central and western Australia. They lived as far east as New South Wales and as far north as the Northern Territory. Today, numbats inhabit nine wild and two free-range areas across the southern region of Western Australia.

Numbats once lived in a variety of habitats from open forests to grasslands. Today they prefer areas with plenty of ground-level cover in order to protect them from the weather and predators such as hawks and red foxes. Numbats also use hollow logs and thickets to protect themselves from predators, animals that hunt them for food.

The numbat was known to central Australian aboriginal (native) people as "walpurti." At one time they were hunted for food. Aboriginal people would track individual numbats to their burrows and then dig them up. Today they have no known economic value, although scientists and ecotourists are interested in observing them. As many as two hundred numbats have been collected as museum specimens.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammals