Most Popular Australian Marsupials
When you think of down under, you automatically think of Australian marsupials. These unique mammals are characterized by their charming pouch that the females carry their young in through early infancy. All marsupial infants are called a Joey and are born the size of a jelly bean after a short gestation. Below are some of the most common marsupials found in Australia.
- Wallaby – There are roughly 30 wallaby species that are widely distributed through most of Australia. They are typically found in remote, rugged or highly timbered areas. Wallabies were introduced to New Zealand however they are often hunted there and considered pests.
- Common Brushtail Possum – These semi-arboreal, nocturnal marsupials are the largest possum. They primarily feed on leaves, especially eucalyptus but are known to eat a rat or animal of equivalent size at times. These Australian marsupials have a naked underside, prehensile tail and come in black, gold, brown or gray. The brushtail possum is a quiet and social animal that is often misunderstood as being fierce due to its loud hissing sound.
- Common Wombat – These marsupials have sturdy bodies that are built to be close to the ground. They are herbivores, foraging primarily through the night and are quite territorial. They establish their range and remain within it to feed and live. They dig themselves a tunnel system that can often become quite complex with plenty of side tunnels as well however, there is usually only one entrance. Common wombats typically breed and produce one Joey every two years.
- Eastern Quoll – Eastern native cat is another name for these Australian marsupials. They are the size of a cat with a white-spotted thick coat. The Eastern quoll is a solitary hunter, feeding on small mammals and insects at night. Breeding season starts early winter resulting in the female often giving birth to 30 young. The first six that become attached to her teats are the survivors.
- Common Wallaroo – These marsupials are a bit smaller than kangaroos, noticeably thicker and usually found in open country. They have a black-skinned, large nose and share a common stance of their shoulders being back, elbows tucked in and wrists raised. The common wallaroo is related to the black wallaroo and the antilopine wallaroo.
- Koala – These are picked as one of the favorite Australian marsupials by residents and tourists. They are arboreal herbivores, feeding solely on eucalyptus leaves and sleeping about 20 hours a day due to their exceptionally slow metabolism. Koalas have a thick coat, long limbs, large ears and very sharp claws to hold onto and climb tree trunks.
- Red Kangaroo – Here is one of the most famous Australian marsupials. They are Australia's largest mammal and are found across the mainlands. They have reddish-brown fur, a square muzzle, pointed ears and an exceptionally long tail. They live either alone or in mobs and are not at all territorial, not even during the mating season. While they can breed any time of the year, females have the ability to delay a birth of a new baby until after her current Joey has left the pouch.
- Tasmanian Bettong – These are small, sweet, nocturnal creatures, sleeping during the day in a nest made of leaves and grass. They primarily feed on tubers, roots and fungi but will eat an insect if one is available. The bettong breeds and produces young all year round after a short three week gestation period.
- Thylacine – These striking carnivorous marsupials are often nicknamed a wolf or tiger by their sleek appearance. Most suggest that they are extinct while others argue that there are a few still hidden on the Australian mainland. Both the male and female have a pouch to carry their young.