A MARVELOUS MARSUPIAL
By, J.E. Rogers
This week I want to introduce you to a beautiful little creature that I love and have anthropomorphized and used in two of my books, The Sword of Demelza, and The Gift of Sunderland. In The Sword of Demelza, we meet Aldon, a Guardian of the Forest and benign sorcerer. He watches over the animals of the Forest and guides them. In The Gift of Sunderland, another powerful numbat appears. His name is Waylond Ayers, and he is a reluctant hero who finally answers the calling of the Forest, and becomes Guardian. In the final book, The Last Ayer, we meet, Keera. She is a young orphaned numbat who lives a protected life until her past is unexpectedly revealed. All the marvelous sketches you see below are in my books and are the creation of Guy Atherfold. My books are all available on Amazon as well as other online retailers.
Aldon, Guardian of the Forest
The Sword of Demelza
Waylond Ayers – The Gift of Sunderland
Keera & Griffin – The Last Ayer
A real numbat looks like this:
Photo credit: Perth Zoo, Australia – Martin Pot
The Numbat, which is also known as the Banded Anteater, is a marsupial indigenous to Australia. This is a graceful, lovely looking marsupial that has sharp snout and ears. Its reddish fur has light and dark bands across its back and down to the base of its tail.
Photo credit: Arkive.org © Getty images
Inside its pointy snout, the Numbat’s tongue is long and sticky, thus enabling it to poke into crevices in logs and rocks searching for its favorite food—termites. This carnivorous marsupial loves a meal of termites or white ants. An adult Numbat will eat over 20,000 termites in one day.
Photo credit: John Gould, F.R.S., Mammals of Australia, Vol. I Plate 52, London, 1863.
Numbats are gentle and solitary animals, active mostly by day, taking a break from foraging to sleep in an old log or fallen tree. They have a very bushy tail, which they carry erect and fluffed out like a bottlebrush. A black stripe runs along the sides of their face and passes through the eye toward its ears.
Photo credit: Arkive.org – ©Sharon Womleaton
“Once widespread across southern Australia, its range is now restricted to several small colonies, and it is listed as an endangered species. The numbat is an emblem of Western Australia and protected by conservation programs.” (Wikipedia- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numbat)
So, why are they endangered? The best way to answer this question is to consider the animal’s history. Australia is pretty much isolated from the rest of the world. Many species of animals that developed there did so independently from other animals around the globe. Australian animals are so different; consider the kangaroo and the platypus, or the koala. But Australia wasn’t isolated forever. Over two hundred years ago, settlers from other parts of the world came to Australia to live. They brought dogs and cats with them, and they deliberately released foxes. The Numbat is a slow-moving animal, and unfortunately, it was easily caught and no match for these introduced species.
Many people on the continent of Australia are working hard to protect this unusual creature in its natural habitat by making sure that the woodlands in which they live remain undisturbed.
To read more about the Numbat, visit the following websites:
Here is a video in which you will see a mature Numbat out foraging.
I do hope you have enjoyed this week’s post. Please visit again, and feel free to leave a comment or share. Thank you.
Jeanne E. Rogers, Award Winning Author
The Sword of Demelza, The Gift of Sunderland and
One Hot Mess, A Child’s Environmental Fable
Where Endangered Animals Heroes Roam the Pages!