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Posts Tagged "marsupials"

Extinction Countdown

This Rare White Possum Could Soon Be a Ghostly Memory

white lemuroid ringtail possum

A ghost lives in the Daintree Rainforest in northeastern Queensland, Australia. There, on a single mountain range located 1,100 meters above sea level, scientists have recently found what may be the last few white lemuroid ringtail possums (Hemibelideus lemuroides), a species that was all but wiped out by a heat wave in 2005. They may [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Island Sanctuary Could Save Sex-Crazed Northern Quoll

northern quoll

Life is tough if you’re a northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus). These rare, cat-sized Australian marsupials don’t have very long life spans—especially males, which tend to die after their first mating experience when less than a year old. You see, all female quolls go into heat at the same time, and it drives the males a [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Climate Change Could Wipe Out the World’s Smallest Kangaroo [Video]

musky rat kangaroo

Scientists in Australia have warned that we’d better get hopping and slow down climate change if we want to prevent the world’s smallest kangaroo from going extinct. The musky rat-kangaroo (Hypsiprymnodon moschatus), which reaches just 35 centimeters in length, lives in a tiny stretch of tropical rainforest on Australia’s northeastern coast. According to researchers from [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Sunday Species Snapshot: Goodfellow’s Tree-Kangaroo

Goodfellow's tree-kangaroo

Yes, there are kangaroos that live in trees. Like the famous hoppers of Australia, tree-kangaroos are marsupials. Unlike ground kangaroos, tree-kangaroos are adapted for arboreal life, making them particularly vulnerable to deforestation. Species name: Goodfellow’s tree-kangaroo, a.k.a. the ornate tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus goodfellowi). Where found: The rainforests of Papua New Guinea, mostly in mountain regions. IUCN [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Parasites that Cause Chagas Disease in Humans May Also Be Killing Tiny Australian Marsupials

woylies

Why are the woylies all dying? Since 2001 the populations of these tiny Australian marsupials have mysteriously crashed by as much as 90 percent. The species, which had already been driven to near-extinction in the early 20th century, had been on the path to recovery after successful conservation efforts protected them from foxes and other [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Dig This: Decline of Australian Digging Mammals Impacts Entire Ecosystems

bandicoot

How much soil would a bandicoot dig if a bandicoot could dig soil? Quite a lot, it turns out. The southern brown bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus) weighs just 1.4 kilograms, but over the course of a year this tiny digging marsupial can excavate more than 3.9 metric tons of soil as it builds its nests and [...]

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Extinction Countdown

3,000 Feral Cats Killed to Protect Rare Australian Bilbies

greater bilby

Australia has a feral cat problem. Cats and other invasive predators have driven dozens of the country’s native bird, reptile and small mammal species into extinction, and continue to threaten several others. So many feral felines roam the country that the government often traps, shoots or poisons the animals in order to control populations. Most [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Logging Could Doom Tiny Australian Possum to Extinction, but One Zoo Offers Hope

leadbeater's possum

Scientists and conservationists this week said they will petition the Australian government to change the status of the Leadbeater’s possum from “endangered” to “critically endangered,” a designation shared by only four other Australian mammals. The tiny marsupial (Gymnobelideus leadbeateri) is one of two faunal emblems of Australia’s State of Victoria, but it has suffered badly [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Sperm Bank and Reproductive Research Could Help Save Tasmanian Devils from Extinction

Tasmanian devil

A diseased and emaciated Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) was found last week on a golf course in the town of Zeehan on Tasmania’s west coast. Like many of its kind, the animal suffered from the deadly, transmittable cancer known as Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD), which has wiped out at least 70 percent and possibly [...]

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Extinction Countdown

The “bunny” hop: Resurrecting the Easter bilby

Rabbits aren’t exactly popular in Australia, where invasive European rabbits have wreaked havoc on the country’s ecology. And so, with Easter just days away, many Australian children will be celebrating not with the traditional Easter bunny, but with the Easter bilby, as the nation uses the holiday to to celebrate—and raise funds to protect—one of [...]

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Running Ponies

Meet Australia’s Easter Bunny: the Long-Eared Greater Bilby

greater-bilby-featured

Easter in Australia is pretty much the same as Easter elsewhere in the world. We do Easter egg hunts and put sad-looking yellow chickens with loose eyespots on display in straw nests and eat nothing but chocolate for three days straight. But there’s a war going on, and the Easter Bunny is at the centre [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Wild wallabies in the UK

I haven’t had time to provide answers on the previous article, sorry about that. Busy with preparation for the International Symposium on Pterosaurs, this year being held in Rio. Purely for the sake of adding something new (TetZoo podcast followers will understand the motivation, I hope), here’s some recycled text from Tet Zoo ver 2 [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

The inaugural issue of The Journal of Cryptozoology

Cryptozoology is the study of animals or alleged animals that are known only from anecdotal evidence. The field has a bit of an image problem. Frankly, this isn’t much of a surprise when you look at the busy efforts of the various creationists, true believers and cranks who express interest in the subject. And several [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Hammer-toothed skink SMASH!

This sequence of photos – taken by my good friend Markus Bühler – shows snail-crushing behaviour in a captive individual of the Australian scincid lizard Hemisphaeriodon (read on) gerrardii, popularly known as the Pink-tongued skink. Unique to the coastal eastern strip of Queensland and New South Wales, it’s a predominantly terrestrial skink of damp sclerophyll [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Marsupial ‘dogs’, ‘bears’, ‘sabre-tooths’ and ‘weasels’ of island South America: meet the borhyaenoids

I’ve decided to republish – in slightly updated form – the borhyaenoid text posted on Tet Zoo ver 2 back in July 2008. The text was originally published as three separate articles. It makes more sense to have it all together in the same place, so here are all those articles combined. Even to novices [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Williams and Lang’s Australian Big Cats: do pumas, giant feral cats and mystery marsupials stalk the Australian outback?

Virtually all people interested in animals are aware of the so-called ‘mystery big cat’ phenomenon. Large, often black, cats are reported with apparent frequency from the eastern USA and the UK. But the phenomenon isn’t unique to those two areas. Here, we’re going to look specifically at the ‘mystery big cat’ phenomenon in Australia. The [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

“San Diego Demonoid”: you mean that dead opossum?

By night, I work as a technical research scientist, writer of papers and so on, but by day I walk the beaches of the world, looking for partially decomposed mystery carcasses and identifying them. Kidding: of course I don’t, but you get the idea – thanks in no small part to the Montauk Monster flap [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Marsupial tapirs, diprotodontids, wombats and others: the vombatiform radiation, part II

Time to finish up on those fantastic vombatiforms. Be sure to read part I first. In part I, we looked at koalas and marsupial lions, both of which seem to be outside Vombatoidea, the vombatiform clade that includes wombats and the superficially wombat-like, mostly terrestrial diprotodontids and kin. This current article surveys vombatoid diversity. Yes, [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Of koalas and marsupial lions: the vombatiform radiation, part I

That recent article on tree-kangaroos really brought home to me just how little marsupial-themed information I’ve published here on Tet Zoo. This marsupial drought really isn’t deliberate, since I find marsupials among the most fascinating of mammals. It’s just that I’ve never found the time to write about them much. Here’s an effort to rectify [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

The ‘Tree-Kangaroos Come First’ hypothesis

One of my favourite groups of marsupials are the wonderful tree-kangaroos. There are presently ten recognised tree-kangaroo species; they occur exclusively on New Guinea, Umboi, New Britain and north-east Queensland (and it’s generally thought that they were introduced to Umboi by humans). Tree-kangaroos first became known to Europeans in 1826 when crew of the Dutch [...]

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