Bears opossum

Which animal can box, hop for meters and carry its babies around in a bag? The kangaroo, of course. But the animals are not the only ones who carry their young around in a fanny pack. Today you will learn interesting facts about their relatives.

wombat, opossum and co.

Which animal can box, hop for meters and carry its babies around in a bag? The kangaroo, of course. But the animals are not the only ones who carry their young around in a fanny pack. Today you will learn interesting facts about their relatives.

From Sonja Gibis

While November fog hangs over the meadows here, the kangaroos are looking forward to summer: in Australia the world is upside down - and not just because it is on the other side of the globe. Its animal world is also wonderful. So there are not only poisonous giant spiders and hedgehogs that lay eggs. The furry four-legged friends also look like something out of a fairy tale. When they have babies, the mothers turn into a walking nursery. They carry their little ones around with them - in a skin pocket or fold of skin on their stomach. Hence their name: marsupials.

Where do the marsupials live?

Of course you know the kangaroo with its powerful jumping legs, probably also the cuddly koala with the black snub nose. But have you ever heard of a quoll, a sugar glider or a wool cusco? In total, animal researchers distinguish 320 different species of marsupials. Most live in Australia and its nearby islands. There are 70 species of tree kangaroos that can also be found in the jungles of New Guinea. Some marsupials have also made it to America, such as the Virginia opossum. With the cross-eyed Heidi from the Leipzig Zoo, the species became known to us as well.

Why do some animals have a pouch?

Like our deer, dogs and mice, all marsupials are mammals. They too produce milk to feed their young. But all marsupials are more distantly related to our mammals than a mouse is to an elephant. However, some look quite similar to our native animals. That is why we also call the quoll marten or speak of the opossum or the pouch-wolf. But this does not indicate a relationship. Some marsupials live under similar conditions to their apparent cousins ​​and have therefore developed a similar appearance. But there are important differences: When a cat gives birth to kittens, these kittens are small and blind, but fully developed kittens. The marsupial children look like tiny pink worms when they are born. They crawl into the bag, where they immediately attach themselves to a teat.

Which marsupial does everyone want to cuddle?

Its name already sounds cozy: Anyone who sees a wombat trotting across a meadow doubts that a bear was the model of the teddy. The Plumpbeutler, as they are also called, lead a peaceful life as vegetarians. Tamed wombats love to be petted on their stomach. With their long incisor teeth, however, they can also bite badly. Wombats also have long claws on their paws, which they use as grave shovels. Because they live in large burrows that can be up to 20 meters long. The bag of the wombat is therefore open to the rear. So no earth falls in when digging. When danger threatens, for example from a dingo, the plump butts, which can weigh up to 40 kilos, have a great tactic: They clog the entrance to their cave with their big butts. Because it's armored by cartilage and bones. Wombats are mainly out and about at night. In the morning you can tell whether someone was there by its cube-shaped droppings.

By the way, the wombat's greatest enemy is humans, especially when they are in a car. Most of them die in traffic.

Which animal is a real devil?

In the Tasmanian forests, you don't even have to perk up your ears at night to hear it. When Tasmanian devils get into a fight over prey, the trees shake. Anyone who hears them screeching believes that they are dealing with a horde of dangerous monsters. In reality, the black, white-breasted predators weigh just six to eight kilos. You don't seem to know yourself. Because when they're angry, not only do their ears turn red and they stink worse than skunks. They also attack much larger enemies. However, they should be careful. The Tasmanian Devil may not be big, but his jaw is huge. Researchers have calculated that it has the greatest bite force of all mammals in relation to its size.

Still, he's in danger. A nasty disease troubles the predators. This causes lumps to form on your face. When they fight for prey, they often injure one another - and become infected in the process. Animal researchers are therefore afraid that the devils will soon no longer exist.

Which animal is a good actor?

In the animal world, it is a real success model: While many marsupials are being ousted by immigrant mammals, the Virginia opossum prevails against all and has conquered all of America. It even got into cold Canada - but not always to the delight of the people. The opossum likes to live in cities and even loots the trash cans at night. An opossum mother can have up to 13 cubs because she has 13 teats. If the little ones are too big for the bag, they ride on their mom's back. That looks very funny. When the opossum is attacked, it has a great trick: it pretends to be dead. It doesn't just fall over. His heartbeat slows down and it gives off a foul carrion odor.

Are there wolves with a pouch?

It was less than 80 years ago that you could still experience him. Photos and black-and-white films show his slim body with the stripes, which also earned him the name of the Tasmanian tiger. Hundreds of years ago, many prey wolves roamed the Tasmanian forests. But they were hunted by humans because they were afraid for their sheep. Even worse: the people brought dogs with them that went wild. These dingoes ousted the pouch wolves. The last animal died in a zoo in 1936. Since then the thylacine has been wiped out. Or not? Again and again there are reports of people who want to have seen the largest known predator with a pouch.