Marsupials are a group of mammals that give birth to live young very early. The young embryo climbs from the mother’s birth canal to the nipples in its mother’s pouch, where it grabs on with its mouth and continues to develop. This process can take weeks or even months depending on the species.
Learn more about the marsupials in our wildlife family.
- Koala young, called joeys, are born underdeveloped after a short pregnancy (35 days) and are carried and suckled in a pouch on their mother’s belly.
- They live and sleep in eucalyptus trees on the east coast of Australia and are herbivores which means they only eat plant material e.g. foliage such as eucalyptus.
- Koalas are also fussy eaters – out of the 600 varieties of eucalyptus in Australia, koalas only eat around 120.
- They are nocturnal creatures which means they are awake and active at night and sleep for up to 18 hours during the day because their eucalypt diet has limited nutritional and caloric content.
- Koalas are territorial and so a male koala scent marks trees by rubbing a gland located in the middle of its chest against tree branches or at the base of a tree and communicates using loud bellows that intimidate rivals and attract mates.
- These marsupials are one of the smallest of the macropods (which means “Big Footed”) and are in the same family as kangaroos and wallabies.
- They are nocturnal creatures which means they spend the daylight hours resting and go foraging for food during the cooler cover of night.
- They inhabit the forests of the east coast of Australia and a number of its surrounding islands.
- Their favourite food is the fallen leaves of rainforest trees, native ferns, berries and fruits.
- Sugar gliders earned their name from their love of eating nectar and flowers, although they can also eat insects.
- The scientific name “Petaurus breviceps” means short-headed rope dancer.
- These marsupials glide up to 90 meters between trees and their gliding membrane extends from their wrist to their ankle.
- They occur in every state and territory of Australia, however they are largely confined to the coastal strips of Australia.
- They live in both wet and dry woodlands and usually those with acacia present.
- These small marsupials are the largest members of the Potoroid family and are often called “Rat-kangaroos”
- They have a pre-hensile tail which they use to carry nesting material.
- They sleep during the day in cone-shaped nests constructed of grass in a shallow depression, usually at the base of a tussock or fallen log, and come out to feed at night on grasses, flowers, roots and fungi.
- Breeding occurs all year round with a single under-developed joey being born after a 22-24 day gestation.
- They can be found on both sides of the Great Dividing Range in north-eastern NSW and Queensland.