28 Things You Didn't Know About Marsupials

By : Epic Wildlife - 9 months ago
The kangaroo is one of the best known symbols of Australia … and maybe the world’s most famous marsupial. So let’s talk about roos and some other critters found only in Oz … As we tell you 28 things you didn’t know about Marsupials!

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#7 The Marsupial Lion King
Tough to imagine a lion with a pouch … but such a critter did once exist in Oz … albeit up until 46,000 years ago. The Marsupial Lion actually was not a lion, or any type of felid (fee-lid) … the creature gets that nickname because it was carnivorous, and is recognized as the largest meat-eating mammal that ever existed in Oz. At their largest, Marsupial Lions could weigh more than 360 pounds and measure almost 6 feet long from head to tail.




#6 Small Scale Roos
It is easy to mistake Wallabies as miniature kangaroos. Not surprising, since they both belong to the same family. They share some common behaviors, including hopping, kicking at enemies, and using their tail for balance and support. Did you know the dwarf wallaby weighs only about 1.6 kilograms? It’s the smallest member of the kangaroo family.


#5 Koala
A close relative of the Wombat, the cuddly Koalas are found in coastal areas of the Australian mainland. They’re up there with the kangaroo in terms of brand awareness, even serving as the mascot for QANTAS airlines in a series of TV commercials. Sleeping up to 20 hours a day, they’re normally considered to be laid back critters. But they do have their dark side. Koalas have been known to attack humans and dogs -- although such an occurrence is rarely reported. Still they have sharp claws and teeth that could inflict some serious damage.


#4 Massive Marsupial
Speaking of koalas,what would you think about seeing a koala that tipped the scales at more than 6,000 pounds? They don’t get that large now … but back in the prehistoric day, their ancient ancestor Diprotodon sure did. The biggest specimens stood more than 6.5 feet tall at the shoulder, and almost 10 feet from nose to tail … that’s about the size of a hippo! They died out around 46,000 years ago.




#3 Hop to it
Red Kangaroos are the best known and largest species, and are actually the largest extant marsupial overall in the world. Males can measure more than 6 feet including the tail, and weigh almost 200 pounds. Depending upon which source you want to believe, the red roos have also been documented to jump about 10 to 19 feet in the air and cover 30 feet in a single leap!


#2 The Tasmanian Tiger (Thy-la-SEEN)
Thylacine was the largest known carnivorous marsupial that existed in modern times. Indigenous to Tasmania, continental Australia and New Guinea, the striped pattern on its back inspired the nickname of Tasmanian Tiger. The last known specimen died at the Hobart Zoo in 1936 .. . and by 1936 it was declared extinct by international standards. Even so, many claimed sightings of the creature have persisted to this day.



#1 Devil of a Critter
So the Tasmanian Devil is one of those select few marsupials that needs no introduction. Once native to Oz, they’re now found on on Tasmania, as their name implies. It’s the world’s largest extant carnivorous marsupial, and is a distant relation to the thylacine. About the size of a small dog, it has a bite that’s powerful enough to chomp through thick metal wire. They’re named for devils because of the scary screaming and hissing noises they can make. WHile known for their willingness to fight, the Devils will employ strategies to avoid all out combat. For instance, they can release a musky stink to drive away an aggressor. Or they can make a series of sharp sneezes in an effort to scare off an enemy. One thing they don’t do is spin around like a crazy vortex … only the cartoon species (like Taz) are known to do that!

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