The family Zhelestidae is among the most diverse Spec mammalian groups . It contains gliders, giant herbivores , small weasel like carnivores , pig like omnivores and more . Along with cimolesta they are basel eutherians and they're fossils have been found all around the world but modern Zhelestids are endemic to Madagscar. They're name , Shroovaloo, is a reference to both their nature as a basal eutherian, and as mistaken marsuipials.
Here we see members of the subfamily Thylacosorcinae, known as lesser Shroovaloos. Top, right to left: Bush shroovaloo (Metasorcis aidenjameshunti) an omnivorus and insectivorous rat-sized forager of the woodlands of Madagascar, bare-tailed shroovaloo (Metasorcis nohirsutocaudatus) a similar forager of the tropical rainforest undergrowth, eating insects berries and lizards. Bottom, right to left: Rabbit-eared shroovaloo (Muklukotherium rodloxi) a hopping insectivore/forager of arid/semi arid scrub and savannah of Madagascar, longnose shroovaloo (Nasalometasorcis parameloides) a marsh dwelling insectivore, occasionally taking fish and amphibians, uses it's long snout to forage through the mud and marshy ground in search of food. All species shown are nocturnal.
Feline Shroovaloo (Metafelis benseni)
The cat-sized Feline shroovaloo (Metafelis benseni) is common almost all over Madagascar, and behaves much like a cat, ambushing small vertebrates and killing them with a single bite. It, ironically, makes a guttral bark to proclaim it's territory. When frightened it leaps and bounds at great speed to escape.
Leopard Shrroovaloo (Genus and species unknown)
The Leopard shroovaloo is found in most wooded ares of Madagascar which harbour lemurs. It resembles the tree foxes of the Old World, and mainly hunts their relatives, the p-lemurs. Like them, it has to fear rocs and large jagators. The size of a clouded leopard, it holds it's prey with it's powerful forelimbs, it kills with a strong bite, it can run along branches and jump between trees with great speed, power and grace.
Mouse Weasel Shroovaloo (Phascolictis enantimurinus)
The mouse weasel shroovaloo (Phascolictis enantimurinus). Measuring hardly 30 cm including the short tail , the mouse weasel shroovaloo is the smallest of the weasel shroovaloos. It is largely nocturnal, hunts mainly unmice , and is small enough to do this in their own burrows. Every year, it gives birth to 4- 6 young in a burrow which it usually hasn't dug itself.
Spotted Weasel Shroovaloo (Phascolictoides pardalis)
The spotted weasel shroovaloo (Phascolictoides pardalis) is about the size of a palm civet and hunts unmice, birds and reptiles, including hatchling hoplocrocs and honkers. It is found in different subspecies across most of Madagascar in a variety of habitats, from desert to savannah to scrub and jungle.
Diurnal Coati Shroovaloo (Metacoati gurneyi)
The diurnal Coati shroovaloo (Metacoati gurneyi) top, is an inhabitant of any wooded part of Madagascar, it forages for both animal and vegetable matter especially lizards, insects and fruit, on the forest floor and in the trees, as it is an able climber. It can usually be seen in family groups of up to ten, the oldest, strongest male is dominant, with subordinate males and females. When younger males challenge the patriarch, they fight, standing on their hind-limbs and lashing out with their fore-claws.
Colugo Shroovaloo (Metacolugo marjanovici)
The colugo shroovaloo (Metacolugo marjanovici) bottom, is a gliding frugivore from the tropical rainforest of Madagascar. It is cryptically colored and clings to tree trunks during the day, and is active at night, it makes a distinctive high pitched call to communicate with others during the night.
Porcine Shroovaloo (Metabrachycrus suniodes)
The Porcine shroovaloo (Metabrachycrus suniodes) is a grazing, pig-size species found in Madagascar's grassy savannas. Filling a niche similar to an oreodont or warthog, it is commonly prey to croclions and other predators. It digs burrows with it's fore-claws and can commonly be seen popping it's head out of it's burrow at dawn to check if the area is safe. It possess a long, flail-like tail with which it communicates with it's mate and young, as they are monogamous, they frequently assume a bipedal pose to look above the grass for the tell-tale tails of it's family. It has a flexible trunk like upper lip, square like those of some rhinoceros, this muscular appendage is used to good effect in gathering grass. When faced with a predator it gallops off and makes for the closest burrow.
Boss-Faced shroovaloo (Teratometamerycoiodon caninus)
The Boss-faced shroovaloo (Teratometamerycoiodon caninus) (top) is another pig sized herbivorous mammal found in the scrub and grassland, feeding mainly on herbage and roots that it digs up, though the front toes are short, it's short sharp claws, powered by it's strong forelimbs, can dig well in even tightly packed soil, and can also move soil with it's horny nose callous. It also feeds on small animals, even large lizards, that it subdues with powerful bites. It can be found solitarily or in mated pairs, in the breeding season, bachelors sideways-butt their horny face callouses it tests of strength for rights to mate with unpaired females.
Elvin Shroovaloo (Elvinotherium tolkieni)
The elvin shroovaloo (Elvinotherium tolkieni) (middle) is a jungle dwelling browser that can crop and manipulate leaves with a long prehensile tongue before ingesting them. The canines are larger in males and are mainly used for display in infraspecific competition for mates. It can move fairly fast in a gallop, but as with a giraffe, trotting and cantering are near impossible due to the lenth of the legs. It's long tasseled ears, like those of it's relatives are it's main means of predator detection.
Razortusk Shroovaloo (Prionotherium lantierii)
The razortusk shroovaloo (Prionotherium lantierii) is a common sight in the undergrowth of any forested part of Madagascar. It feeds mainly on vegetation, but will take small animals. It's impish call (yoohooo!) is distinctive but used with restraint so as not to draw attention to itself. It's sensitive ears can alert it to most predators, and it's long tusks are used for display in competition for mates but can be used to wound an attacker with a painful bite.
Elephant Shroovaloo (Caninoelephas diabolis)
The elephant shroovaloo (Caninoelephas diabolis) is one of the most spectacular mammals in spec. The size of a brown bear, it only inhabits a small range of extremely dense montane rainforest. It eats mostly browse, soft leafy vegetation, as well as branches, bark and herbage, however, when confronted with an enemy, it can use it's huge tusks to good effect in defense, or else rear up on it's hindlegs and crush the predator with it's forelimbs, srefs and even croctigers are apprehensive to attack it. It has a remarkable appendage on the lower jaw, a trunk consisting of some of the lip muscles, it is used to grasp and manipulate foliage to the mouth.