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Common Name:
Cuscus - Spotted
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Common Name:  Cuscus - Spotted

Other Common Names:  none listed

Scientific Name:  Phalanger maculatus  (Full Taxonomy)

Group:  

Origin or Range:  Australia and New Guinea

Relative Size:  Average  
    (as compared to other marsupials)

Average Lifespan:  8 year(s)

Compatibility:  Relatively Non-Aggressive   
    (as compared to other marsupials)

Category:  Mammals » Marsupials
Animal Description:  

A marsupial that somewhat resembles a sloth in behavior, the Spotted Cuscus is an interesting outback animal.

Very few animals feed on Cuscus meat because they are so hard to get at. If you antagonize a Cuscus while it is in its tree, it will bark a warning before slashing protectively with its front claws to make sure you do not get anywhere near it. Living in trees, they subsist mostly on plant material. If they are in captivity, they will eat meat or eggs if it is fed to them, suggesting that they will eat eggs or young animals in the wild when the opportunity arises. Males mark their territory by scenting it, and will defend it vigorously. The Cuscus does almost everything while sitting - sleeping, eating, relaxing, and even hunting. They can wear out their rear ends doing this, though, and frequently the Cuscus will have a spot on their behinds that has been rubbed raw. They have powerful prehensile tails that can easily wrap around tree limbs and hoist the Cuscus up among the branches for hunting and climbing purposes. Many people think they are monkeys at first, for both their tree affinity and their appearance, which can easily be likened to a monkey.

The Spotted Cuscus is a beautiful animal. Their eyes are yellow, orange, or red, and often they have yellow noses. They have long bodies, measuring over a foot and a half in length, their tails being about half that length. The Cuscus has a slightly monkey-like face. They have hands, complete with thumb-like appendages that make tree climbing an easy task Their tails are prehensile and can curl around branches, the lower side covered in scales. They earn the name "spotted" from the dusting of black and brown spots that cover a soft coat of light orange, white, or tan color. The spotted Cuscus is sometimes mistaken for a monkey. They do not look much like monkeys, but they do share a few behavioral traits with them. The Cuscus has more in common with the sloth than the monkey. They spend all day in the trees, clinging to branches and waiting for food to come to them. They even attack with their front claws, which are highly developed for combat.

They can be found in New Guinea and in Australia, where they are a little on the rare side. The Cuscus enjoys tree life, and will nest inside a tree once it is hollowed out. They prefer living in tropical rainforests, although they can be found in a few mangroves here and there. Active mostly at night and rarely found outside the protective limbs of trees.

Specific Care Information: Relative Care Ease: Uncertain

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Breeding and Propagation: Relative Breeding Ease: Uncertain

Breeding is a simple task; it can happen any time during the year and pregnancy only lasts 2 weeks. They will have one or two babies at a time that will leave the mother's pouch after a short period, moving on to scrape out a living in the outback.

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Friday, 31 October 2014