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What are marsupials?

Marsupials are mammals in which the females have a pouch to carry their young. Australia is home to many different marsupial species. Of the 334 marsupial species, 200 are native to Australia. Do you know any Australian marsupials?

Kangaroo

A kangaroo is a marsupial that can only be found in Australia. There are three different kinds of kangaroos: the Red Kangaroo, the Eastern Grey kangaroo and the Western Grey Kangaroo. Kangaroos have powerful hind legs, large feet useful for leaping with, a long, muscular tail to enhance balance, a pouch to carry their young in, and a small head. Some kangaroos are able to travel 70 km/h by hopping and leaping on their powerful legs.

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Koala

The koala is a herbivore marsupial that is native to Australia. These animals live in eucalyptus trees and can be found along the east coast of the continent, extending from Adelaide to Cape York. Not only does the eucalyptus tree act as a home for koalas, but it is also provides them with their major source of food. The leaves from the eucalyptus tree are the only things koalas eat. The koala is a very inactive creature, sleeping for about 19 hours a day. For the remaining five hours of the day, the koala spends about three of those hours eating.

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Some other marsupials include the wallaby, the possum, the wombat and the bandicoot.

What is a rodent?

Another animal type is the rodent. Rodents are mammals that are usually very small. Rodents include animals such as mice, squirrels and porcupines. There are somewhere between 2000 and 3000 species of rodents. Rodents are very important to the ecosystem because they reproduce very quickly and act as a food source for many different predators. The smallest rodent is the African pygmy mouse, which weighs a very light 7 grams.

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What is a primate?

The primate animal group includes lemurs, monkeys, chimpanzees, orang-utans and humans. Primates are generally lively, intelligent and successful at adapting to different environments. Compared with most other animals, the brains of primates are relatively large. Their large brains allow them to develop complex communication and language skills. Primates spend most of their waking hours interacting socially with each other.

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Primates have well-developed hands and feet. For many primates, their hands allow them to grab branches and swing from trees. They also have fingernails instead of claws. Most primates have quite a long life expectancy. Some orang-utans can live up to 60 years.

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