Numbat | Facts, Diet, Habitat & Pictures

Numbat | Facts, Diet, Habitat & Pictures

Numbat Overview


The numbat, a small marsupial, has a distinctive appearance with a slender body and a pointed snout. It is covered in fine, reddish-brown fur adorned with white stripes running across its body and a black stripe along its spine.

Numbats have a bushy tail, round ears, and a long, slender tongue that they use for feeding on termites. They are characterized by their unique appearance among marsupials and are often recognized by their striking coloration and slender physique.

Origins And Evolution

The numbat, scientifically known as Myrmecobius fasciatus, is a marsupial native to Australia. It has a unique evolutionary history within the marsupial family. Numbats belong to the family Myrmecobiidae and are the only surviving species within this family.

Fossil evidence suggests that their ancestors were more diverse and occupied a broader range of habitats than the modern numbat. Over time, as their specialized diet of termites evolved, they adapted to become highly specialized termite hunters.

Their slender physique, diurnal behavior, and long tongue for extracting termites from their nests distinguish them from other marsupials, making them a unique and iconic Australian species.

Behavior and Lifestyle

Numbats are diurnal marsupials known for their unique feeding habits. They are solitary animals, rarely found in groups, and spend their days foraging for termites. Numbats are excellent termite hunters, using their keen sense of smell and long, sticky tongues to extract termites from their nests and galleries.

They do not build burrows themselves but instead utilize natural cavities or burrows abandoned by other animals for shelter. Numbats are generally quiet animals but may emit soft vocalizations during interactions or distress.

Numbat Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Dasyuromorphia
  • Family: Myrmecobiidae
  • Genus: Myrmecobius
  • Species: fasciatus

Numbat Locations

Numbats are primarily found in Western Australia and parts of South Australia.

Fast Facts

  • Name: Banded Numbat
  • Scientific Name: Myrmecobius fasciatus
  • Habitat: Woodland Scrublands
  • Diet: Termite Specialist
  • Physical Features: Striped Coat
  • Nocturnal: Daytime Forager
  • Solitary: Mostly Solitary
  • Unique Order: Marsupialia Order
  • Lifespan: 5-6 Years
  • Conservation Status: Endangered Species
  • Fun Facts: Diurnal Ant-eater

Physical Characteristics

  • Color: Striped Pattern
  • Skin Type: Fine Fur
  • Top Speed: Slow Runner
  • Lifespan: 5-6 Years
  • Weight: Lightweight Body
  • Length: Small Marsupial
  • Age of Sexual Maturity: 1-2 Years
  • Age of Weaning: 6-8 Months\

Numbat FAQs

Are numbats related to anteaters?

No, numbats are not closely related to anteaters. They belong to a different evolutionary lineage and are marsupials, while anteaters are placental mammals.

Why are they called "numbats"?

Numbats got their name from the Aboriginal Noongar people of Western Australia, who referred to them as "numbat" in their language.

Do numbats eat anything besides termites?

Numbats are highly specialized termite hunters and primarily eat termites. Their diet is almost exclusively composed of termites.

Why are numbats diurnal?

Numbats are diurnal because their primary food source, termites, is also active during the day. Being diurnal allows numbats to efficiently hunt termites.

How many termites can a numbat eat in a day?

Numbats can consume a large number of termites, often up to 20,000 termites in a single day.

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