Kind of teeth, but not really
Yep – unlike other mammals, Numbats don’t have proper teeth. But don’t let that fool you into thinking these little critters have gummy mouths. Whilst the need to have a proper set of chompers is not critical for an insectivore (they don’t chew their food), Numbats mouths are still full of ‘peg-like’ teeth.
When it comes to getting food, it’s brains over brawn
Numbats aren’t strong enough to break into termite mounds - but they don’t let their lack of strength get in the way of their next meal. Numbats will hang around the mounds and wait for termites to come into easy reach before snatching them up with their 17cm long tongue!
They’re related to tigers!
The numbat is a highly distinctive carnivorous marsupial. It isn't closely related to any living marsupial, but one of its closest relatives is the now-extinct thylacine or 'Tasmanian tiger'.
At Perth Zoo we’re committed to ensuring this ‘tiny tiger’ doesn’t suffer the same fate!
A big West Australian icon
They might be short in stature, but these critters are kind of a big deal! These reddish-brown creatures can only be found in South-west Western Australia and just so happen to be the mammal emblem for WA. They’re also are one of only two marsupials in Australia that are active during the day (diurnal) – no biggie 😉
Sadly, Numbats are an endangered native species and are facing many threats to their survival, including deforestation and predation. With only about 1,000 left in the wild, there is the very real chance they could become extinct in our lifetime.
Saving wildlife isn’t just a slogan – it’s what we do.
In 1987, we established our Numbat breed-for-release program, and in 1993 we released the first Numbats into the wild to boost their populations – and is something we continue to do every single year.
If you’d like to support us and the vital wildlife conservation work we do, please consider donating here