The Numbat
Banded Anteater

The Numbat is the Western Australia Animal Emblem

Also known as the Banded Anteater and Walpurti.

They have a reddish brown coat that is banded with white stripes, a black stripe that runs from their pointed snout through their eyes to the base of their small ears, a bushy tail and a long tongue for eating termites. They measure around 20 to 30 centimetres, with their tail being about the same length. They weigh between 280 and 550 grams.

Numbats are marsupial mammals and are one of the few marsupials that are active during the day. They time their activity with that of the termites: in winter they usually feed from mid-morning to mid-afternoon; in summer they take shelter during the heat of the day, and feed in the morning and again in the late afternoon.


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They eat termites, and although they have fairly strong claws for their size, they are not strong enough to get to the termites inside the termite mounds, so they have to wait until the termites are active. They get the termites in dead trees, rotten logs and in the shallow underground routes they use when they are travelling to and from their mounds and feeding areas.

Each one consumes about 20,000 termites a day.

They are solitary and territorial and each one has its own home range.

Breeding time is in summer with the young usually being born between January and March.

Gestation is around 14 days, four young are usually born, and as they do not have a pouch the young attach themselves to the mothers teats and hang on to her belly fur where they remain for about 6 months.

After this time they stay in the burrow during the day and she feeds them at night.

They were once found from the western New South Wales, Victoria border through South Australia and southern Northern Territory to the southwest of Western Australia.

But with European colonisation and the the release of the Red Fox the entire population was wiped out in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory, and nearly in Western Australia as well.

They are now found only in the southwest corner of Western Australia.

Numbats are a protected species in Australia.

The Numbat was proclaimed the Western Australia Animal Emblem in 1973

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