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Neodasau

Like other carnivorous marsupial, the quolls had experienced hard times in Holocene epoch: their number decreased greatly due to anthropogenic pressure and competition to introduced placental predators. However, unlike their larger relatives, the thylacine and the Tasmanian Devil, quolls managed to go through anthropogenic pressure, the co-existing with more evolutionally advanced animals, climatic disasters and much more. However, such “tests” have not gone unnoticed for the quolls: some of their species became extinct, and the descendants of others sometimes began to develop in quite different evolutional directions, acquiring completely different features. Marsupial potto is one of such deviating species. Like its placental analogue it is a small animal about 26-33 centimeters long, having short tail. This tail is a legacy of the ancestral condition: marsupial potto moves too slowly and does not leap, so it does not really need a tail. The ancestors of marsupial potto had spotted coloration, but nocturnal lifestyle made the fur of this animal monotonously dark brown with a golden tint. Also it has shorter and broader snout, larger eyes and ears, and longer whiskers. The teeth are small, but strong, able to bite through even a thick bone. Marsupial potto is an active predator that feeds on insects and spiders, slugs and snails, tree frogs and lizards, small mammals and birds – everything that it can catch and kill with a strong bite. Dark fur of this animal makes it hard to see at night when it sneaks up onto its prey – its short legs are poorly adapted for longer leaps or a long chase, but it can sneak up to sleeping birds very cautiously. Marsupial potto comes down to the ground very rarely – mainly to slake its thirst. But more often this animal finds rosettes of epiphytic plants where water accumulates and so it does not need to go down to the ground at all. Twice a year the females begin to call out to males with barking sounds, indicating the beginning of heat. If two or more males meet near the same female, there will be severe fighting, and sometimes they bite each other. The winner mates with the female and leaves it – the female of this species raises its litter alone. The pouch has only two nipples, but the female gives birth to up to 5 offspring – but only those ones survive, that reach the nipples first. At the age of three months the young begin to leave the pouch and being 8 months old they are independent. By that time the female is ready to breed again. If any female loses its cubs for some reason, it comes into heat much faster. The life expectancy of marsupial potto is 8-10 years; the sexual maturity comes at two-and-a-half to three years.

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