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Marsupials

Marsupials are mammals that give birth to relatively under developed young who, once born, drag themselves to a protective pouch or temporary skin fold and then attach themselves to a teat where they further develop and grow toward independence. Marsupials are limited to the Australian continent (Australia, New Guinea and surrounding islands) and the South and Central America’s. Of the approximate 334 extant marsupials about 70% are Australasian. Australian marsupials are divided into four extant orders and there are a further three orders in the America’s.

Dasyuromorphia are the carnivorous type marsupials such as the numbat, Tasmanian devil, quolls and dunnarts. Peramelemorphia are the bandicoots and bilbies and the marsupial moles are Notoryctemorphia. Diprotodontia which includes all the well-known marsupials such as koalas, wombats, possums, gliders. bettongs and kangaroos is the largest order. Diprotodontia can be further divided for simplicity into suborders or super families. These can be listed as; wombats and koalas; possums (including cuscus, pygmy-possums and gliders); and the macropods which are the kangaroos, wallabies, pademelons, tree-kangaroos, bettongs and rat-kangaroos.

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