The Yellow-footed Antechinus - Fertile and Suicidal

Yellow-footed antechinusThe yellow-footed antechinus (Antechinus flavipes) is a curious little marsupial that lives in the land down under. The little mammal resembles a mouse but does not have the characteristic mouse odour but does have teeth like a canine. The antechinus is usually gray in colour with a more rusty hue toward the belly and has a white-eye ring and black tipped tail. Colours vary with location. Adults are anywhere from 90 (3.5inches) to 160mm (6.2 inches) in length and weigh from 20 (0.75 oz.) to 75g (2.75 oz.).

Unlike the majority of their species, they prefer to scamper around during the day scavenging for invertebrates, eggs, nectar, small birds and house mice to eat. After catching the prey, the antechinus oddly turns it inside out, as it prefers to get to the meaty interior. Not fearful of humans, the antechinus has been known to enter houses and to commence nest building.

This fast-footed little animal, also known as mardo, is considered a low risk on the endangered species list as it is quite an adaptable little creature. Populations are found anywhere from northeast Queensland to southwest Western Australia and in environments ranging from dry deserts to lush forests.

Mating season for the yellow-footed antechinus occurs annually at various times throughout the year depending on where individual groups are located.
During this time, which lasts two weeks, the males go on a frenzy, as fighting ensues and many nests are visited until a suitable mate if found. Following the twelve-hour mating session, the males all die due to self-imposed starvation and the stress their little bodies endure from overexertion, lack of nutrients and loss of weight.

Following a month’s gestation period the young are born. Seven to ten babies arrive and sometimes there are more babies than teats to feed them. They reside in their mother’s outside pouch and cling to her as she scampers along for the first five weeks of their lives. When the babies are too heavy to carry, they live in a nest prepared by their mother. The young yellow-footed antechinus are weaned at the age of three months; it is at this time they begin to travel with their parent.

At times, the mother may kill her young. She does this not out of hunger but it is thought due to discrimination. The females are the victims who get disposed of in the first litter. The males are subject to destruction if another litter arrives later in the year. Soon the surviving young marsupials venture out on their own as they reach sexual maturity at eleven months.

Picture of the yellow-footed antechinus by benjamint444, licensed under GFDL

Keywords: yellow , pouch

The Yellow-footed antechinus 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

Some facts about the
Yellow-footed marsupial mouse

Adult weight : 0.045 kg (0.099 lbs)

Maximum longevity : 4 years

Female maturity :345 days

Gestation : 25 days

Weaning : 90 days

Litter size : 7

Interval between litters : 365 days

Body mass : 0.047 kg (0.1034 lbs)

Temperature : 34.85 °C (94.73 °F)

Source: AnAge, licensed under CC

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