The Fat-Tailed Dunnart - Well Adapted For Extreme, Semi-Arid Environments

Fat-tailed dunnartThe Fat-Tailed Dunnart (Sminthopsis crassicaudata) is a mouse-like marsupial that is not on the endangered species list. It measures around 60-90mm (2.3 to 3.5 inches) and has a 45-70mm (1.75 to 2.75 inches) long tail. Its ears stand 14-16mm (0.55 to 0.63 inches) tall and all together he weighs between 10-20 grams (0.35 to 0.7 ounces), making him one of the smallest carnivorous marsupials.

The Fat-Tailed Dunnart's Habitat

This marsupial lives in most regions of Australia, excluding the scrubs of Victoria. The habitats in which he can be found include grasslands, shrub lands and farmlands - places where there is a lot of barren land.

The Fat-Tailed Dunnart's Diet

The Fat-Tailed Dunnart eats insects (including beetles and spider larvae), small reptiles and amphibians. Whenever there is a shortage of food, he is thankful for the fat reserves that are stored within his carrot-shaped tail.

The Fat-Tailed Dunnart's Characteristics

This animal has no known predators and is able to survive in environments that extreme to semi-arid in nature because of its physiological and behavioral characteristics. The Fat-Tailed Dunnart is nocturnal and has a 24-hour circadian rhythm. This protects him from losing energy while feeding during the high temperatures at night.
It is able to get a lot of nutrients out of this food by using its specialized, sharp teeth to grind its prey into fine pieces. It also uses daily torpor, which lowers both its body temperature and metabolic rate in order to help him reduce the amount of energy that he uses. This is only used when the temperature is low and there is a food shortage, which means that it is more often used in the winter. Torpor can also be used during development and reproduction. Coupled with the daily tarpor is another process, which is known as re-warming. In this process a lot of energy is used in order to raise the fat-tailed dunnart's body temperature. This is used whenever he awakens from the torpid state, which is when they are usually found basking in the sun as this helps with the process. Nesting is also used as another survival technique throughout cold times when it is important for him to conserve heat. The fat-tailed dunnart only uses group nesting when the breeding season is over.

Keywords: red , tail

The Fat-tailed dunnart 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
Fat-tailed dunnart

Adult weight : 0.015 kg (0.033 lbs)

Maximum longevity : 5 years

Female maturity :115 days

Male maturity : 159 days

Gestation : 14 days

Weaning : 69 days

Litter size : 7

Interval between litters : 94 days

Weight at weaning : 0.007 kg (0.0154 lbs)

Body mass : 0.016 kg (0.0352 lbs)

Temperature : 34.85 °C (94.73 °F)

Source: AnAge, licensed under CC

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