Silky Shrew Opossum - Tiny, Nocturnal Marsupial of The Andes

Silky shrew opossumThe Silky Shrew Opossum (Caenolestes fuliginosus) is a unique animal native to the cool, wet, heavy vegetated forest regions of the Andes Mountains of South America. Their live at altitudes from 4,500 feet to 12,000 feet (1,500 to 4,000 meters). The Silky Shrew Opossum is also called the Dusky Shrew Opossum, the Dusky Caenolestid or the Ecuadorean Shrew-Opossum. Its range extends from Ecuador and Colombia, across the northwestern forests of Venezuela.

The Silky Shrew Opossum is a member of the marsupial family, in that, like kangaroos, they carry their young in a pouch.

It is a tiny animal, with a head and body measuring just 3.7 to 5.3 inches (9.3 to 13.5 centimeters) and tail length of 3.7 to 5.3 inches (9.3 to 12.7 centimeters). Unable to grasp with his tail, it will use it as a kind of third leg for balance, while standing upright. The animal is covered with a thick, soft fur of dark brown, with the undersides turning to a lighter tan color. The females are smaller, weighing in at .58 to .79 ounces (16.5 to 22.4 grams) and the males weighing .88 to 1.43 ounces (25 to 40.8 grams).
The animals forages for food on the ground at night, hiding in burrows or logs by day.

When threatened, a Silky Shrew Opossum will open his mouth wide and hiss at the intruder. Because of their nocturnal, solitary life in the mountains, they do not have very much interaction with humans. Therefore, not much is known about these tiny, nocturnal creatures.

The Silky Shrew Opossum is probably the most well known of the shrew opossum species. Because of their small size, any larger animal in its region could potentially be a predator. Although other Shrew Opossum species are endangered or threatened because of loss of habitat from deforestation, the Silky Shrew Opossum does not have any conservation standing at this time.

The Silky shrew opossum is listed as Least Concern (LR/lc), lowest risk. Does not qualify for a more at risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category, on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Namings for the silky shrew opossum
A young / baby of a silky shrew opossum is called a 'joey'. The females are called 'jill' and males 'jack'.
Countries
Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela


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