The only marsupial ant- or termite-eater, and the only marsupial to be active fully during the day. Numbats are very distinctive because of their black and white rump stripes and facial markings.
17.5-27.5cm long with a 13-17cm tail.
The numbat has a long muzzle, a low body with quite short legs and a long, sparsely bushy tail. Its feet carry strong claws for breaking open termite nests, and it has a very long tongue and small, irregular teeth. Its ears and eyes are quite small. Its fur is a fawn colour, with a black and white stripe through the eyes, and black and white bands on the rump and up to the middle of the back. There is no pouch.
Now found only in restricted areas of Western Australia, although it once ranged over much of southern and central Australia from the west coast to western New South Wales.
Dry open woodland and arid areas.
The only fully day-active marsupial, numbats are solitary, with large home ranges. They spend the night in hollow logs or occasional burrows. They spend their waking hours sniffing out shallow termite galleries, which they dig out with their strong front claws.
A male and female sometimes share a territory during the cooler months, and young are born between January and May. Although the female lacks a pouch, the four youngsters attach themselves to a nipple each, and it is not until they are a few months old that the mother leaves them in a burrow during the day. By October they start foraging themselves, and they disperse in December.
Listed as Vulnerable, due to predation by foxes and habitat destruction for agriculture.