Numbats Are Endangered & Population Decline: Facts and Reasons Behind the Problem
Nature is full of exciting, interesting and fascinating creatures, so many that we don’t even know about half of them. Different species of animals are native to different countries due to the qualities and characteristics they have. Whether that is a need for a certain climate, terrain or resource of food. The numbat animal is an example of one of these rare, unknown and often misunderstood creatures. The truth is no matter if we know about them or not they need us and our voices to speak up for the ongoing decline of their population and the reason behind why it is occurring. Numbats, although rare, have a very specific and important role in western Australian wildlife and the number of ecosystems within it.
What Is A Numbat?
If you are not familiar with the numbat, then knowing exactly what it is is a great way to start getting to know about the role it plays in nature and its need for ultimate survival and reproduction. A numbat, otherwise known as a banded anteater, is a small marsupial animal that is native to parts of Australia. The numbat size is defined by being a small and slender mammal with pointed heads and upright ears. They have four very short legs, long claws and a distinctive bushy tail. They are most commonly grey, red and brown in colour and have a unique black and white banding on their back. They have a beige underbelly and a long black stripe over and across their eyes.
Where Do Numbats Live?
The numbat habitat is located in parts of Australia. In fact, they used to be found in the southern part of Australia including Western Australia, South Australia and many parts of New South Wales, Victoria and the Northern Territory. Nowadays they can only be found in isolated spots in southwest Western Australia. The numbat habitat Australia includes Eucalypt woodlands where old, fallen trees provide logs for shelter, nesting sites and tons of foraging opportunities. They need woodlands like this to survive as the trees provide protection from many birds of prey and open areas protected by shrubs in order for them to have the ability to forage. They will only appear in areas where there is sufficient sunshine and where the climate is not too cold or wet in order for them to have the ability to catch their main source of prey.
What Do Numbats Eat?
The numbat diet primarily consists of termites, in fact, they eat only termites exclusively. They do not eat ants or any other relatives and stick to consuming a large variety of different termites. This is the main reason they choose their habitat as it is all dependent on whether it is a moderate climate perfect for termite reproduction. Numbats eat around 20,000 termites a day. They don’t even drink water and rely on the water they get from the consumption of the termites to keep them hydrated and fueled. Although this concept may sound absolutely bizarre and quite concerning it is a very important part of nature and the ecosystems within it. If numbats did not consume termites within the regions they breed rapidly there would be a complete infestation and most of the land may become uninhabitable.
Why Are Numbats Endangered?
So how many numbats are left in the world? The numbat population has been declining for a couple of years now and there are an estimated 1000 numbats left in the world. This is a very small and concerning number that has really raised fear among biologists and environmentalists.
This is very sad and leaves them extremely vulnerable to extinction. There are a number of different reasons as to why the numbat population is delving at such a rate. Some of the threats they are facing in the wild include :
Loss of Homes and Habitat
A numbat habitat is a place of shelter and protection. Their home and the safety of their home is an essential part of their survival in the wild. They need specific climates and surrounding terrain in order to thrive and unfortunately, areas such as these are declining. It is us as people that are responsible for essentially removing their homes as a result of deforestation and industrialization.
Another reason for the decline in the numbat population is an increase in their predators. Foxes and cats are the main predators of a numbat and because of loss of habitat and land clearing they can more easily catch their prey, the numbat. This makes numbats much more vulnerable and has little ability to protect themselves.
Clearing of Agriculture
The agriculture found in the specific habitat that a numbat chooses has been in dire straits since the European settlement. With tons of wildfires destroying larges pieces of land and the culmination of tree climbing, there is little to no space for the numbat to exist. This means they do not have the ability to create a safe and protective shelter for themselves, which increases the number of predators they face. This also affects their resources for survival, termites to be more specific are now only reproducing in smaller reasons of Australia, declining their ability to intake the amount of fuel they need for survival.
This is a very sad and unfortunate side of the numbat species, however, it is of the utmost importance that we put work into creating actions that can help repair our damage to possibly protect, conserve and save the remainder of the numbat Australia population.
Interesting Numbat Facts
You have learned quite a lot about the numbat species already, however, this only just scratches the surface. Numbats are extremely interesting, intelligent, and fascinating mammals that possess a lot of qualities that often remain unknown. To help you grasp a better understanding of the numbat here are some facts you should know.
- The numbat tongue is sticky which gives them the ability to collect a large number of termites in one go.
- Numbats are diurnal, meaning they sleep during the night and are awake throughout the day.
- Numbats have an exceptional sense of smell.
- They live in hollow logs or dig burrows underground.
- The lifespan of a numbat is only 5 years in the wild.
- They produce a variety of different vocalizations used for communication.
- Numbats usually breed once a year and usually result in the birth of four young.
As you can see numbats are extremely wise and insightful creatures who play a very important role in the ecosystems of Australian wildlife. However more importantly numbats are in danger and facing threats as a result of human behavior. It is now our chance to repay the numbat by creating and driving a positive change towards helping them rebuild their habitat in an effort for reproduction and population inclination. There are many things you can do to help the numbat species and educating and bringing awareness to others is the first step in the right direction.
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