In case you do not know what a marsupial is, here’s the official definition:
A marsupial is a mammal of an order whose members are born incompletely developed and are typically carried and suckled in a pouch on the mother’s belly.
Basically, marsupials are mammals who are carried by their mother on their body until they are properly developed (and can fend for themselves).
Most people think of only kangaroos when they think of marsupials, but this family of animals have quite a few more members, including some very interesting ones.
In fact, there are others who are far less known, and even rare.
Read on to find out about ten of the most interesting marsupials in the world.
Interesting marsupial # 1: Echidna
This animal looks a lot like a porcupine, and is often mistaken for one, but it is anything but.
In fact, it is one of the only two mammals in the world that lay eggs!
Echidnas carry their egg on their body until it hatches.
Interesting marsupial # 2: Duck-billed platypus
The duck-billed platypus is widely considered one of the most fascinating animals in the world. In fact, when it was first brought to Europe, people thought it was made up! Scientists just could not believe such an animal can exist!
It is also the only other mammal in the world that lays eggs.
Here are three more interesting facts about this fascinating marsupial:
- Its beak may look like a duck’s, but is more malleable and has a lot more function. The duck-billed platypus uses it’s beak like a sonar – detecting the tiny electrical charge that living beings give off – to hunt for food in water.
- They don’t feed their babies like most mammals do, as they don’t have nipples. Their milk secretes from their skin pores, which their babies are then nourished on.
- Baby duck-billed platypus have a horn on their beaks, which they use to cut out of their eggs.
Interesting marsupial # 3: Wombat
The third one in this series is a marsupial called wombats.
They look a lot like koala bears, but are anything but.
Wombats can tolerate extremely cold temperatures, and carry their babies in pouches – like kangaroos.
Interesting marsupial # 4: Numbat
Numbats look a lot like a hybrid between a fox and a squirrel.
And they have long tongues like Ant Eaters, which they use to grab insects.
On average, one numbat eats 20,000 termites a day!
Talk about effective termite control…
Interesting marsupial # 5: Honey Possum
Honey possums are often referred to as the cutest possums, mainly due to their small size.
You can see for yourself in the above video why are are called that.
Honey possums, as their name suggest, feed on honey – or rather – nectar.
They have one of the most specialised tongues in the animal kingdom. Their tongue is devised in a way that enables them to get into the deepest flowers and soak their nectar.
Interesting marsupial # 6: Mountain Pygmy Possum
Mountain pygmy possums are possibly one of the most agile animals in the world. The way they navigate mountains and cliffs will put any experienced mountaineer to shame!
These fascinating marsupials are seasonal carnivores. During winter they feed on mainly moths, to store the fat and protein to see them through the cold. And during warmer months they mainly eat berries and seeds.
Talk about a versatile diet.
Interesting marsupial # 7: Striped Possums
These mursupials are possibly the most visually appealing ones of the lot.
They look a lot like zebras, if zebras were squirrel shaped!
They also have long sticky tongues.
Interesting marsupial # 8: Rock Wallaby
Rock wallabies live in very dry areas, and scale mountains and rocks to get their food and water.
They have a fascinating way to ensure that their children don’t die of dehydration – they somehow regurgitate fluid from their stomach to feed their children.
Sounds icky, sure, but ensures that the children survive in what is a very hostile environment.
Nature and it’s incredible adaptations.
Interesting marsupial # 9: Yapuk
Yapuks, commonly known as Water opossums, look a lot like rats.
They hunt for their food mainly in water. Their hunting method is quite interesting: they swim with their arms apart – spread out sort of like a net, groping for food.
What makes yapuks especially interesting is the fact that they are the only aquatic mursupials in the world.
Interesting marsupial # 10: Kangaroos
You can’t talk about interesting mursupials without listing kangaroos!
Let’s clarify something though – there isn’t just one type of kangaroo, but several. There’s this widely held misconception that kangaroos only come in one type, which is not true at all. They not only come in different types, but also different shapes and sizes.
One of the most interesting features of kangaroos is their tail. They use their tail a lot like a fifth leg, and this specialist device enables them to move really fast.
How fast you ask? At full speed, they can outrun racing horses!
Not just that, but they can also outrun most animals in terms of stamina. Kangaroos cover incredible distances, thanks to their efficient way of using and recycling their energy.
The most efficient long distance runners in the animal kingdom, one might say.
The world is a fascinating place, and we are always discovering new things.
I hope you learnt something new from this article.
It’s also important to note that some of these fascinating animals are actually on the endangered species list, and it is only through awareness can we even start to help.
So find out what you can, and help where you can.
How many of these interesting mursupials have you heard of before?
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?