About the Cuscus, Spotted and the Black Spotted
Cuscus, rare and beautiful.
This extraordinary animal is a marsupial, and has its home in the forests of New Guinea and the tip of Cape North in Australia.
It is a rare and shy animal and being nocturnal not always easy to see.
It is in fact a type of Possum, and like them carries it babies in a pouch for the beginning of their life and then carries them around on its back.
Spotted and Black spotted Cuscus
The Blackspotted Cuscus(Spilocuscus rufoniger) Is found only in Northern New Guinea.
It is very rare and its numbers are still declining due to as always habitat destruction, but also because Cuscus are hunted for their meat by the indigenous people. In fact the Blackspotted Cuscus is on the Critically Endangered list.
As with others of the species it has small, barely visible round ears, a very sensitive nose and a prehensile tail, which in the Spotted and Blackspotted subspecies is bare at the bottom.
The Blackspotted Cuscus are in fact strikingly marked in bright orange and white, with the females, which are bigger than the male, have a dark(black) saddle and the males have patches on their backs of dark mottling.Their fur is dense and woolly. Their front claws are curved and pointed thereby making tree climbing easy for them. They are omniverous eating fruit, nuts and maybe smaller animals.
Spotted Cuscus (Family Phalanger)
This animal is more widespreadin New Guinea but In Australia inhabits only the tip of Cape York. At the present time its numbers are not a cause for concern, however it is also widely hunted for its meat and pelts, and also has natural predators such as Birds of Prey and Pythons. Also there is the risk of habitat destruction so things a re being monitored.
Its habitat is lowland tropical forest and mangroves. It makes its nest in hollow trees which it like other Cuscus climb with ease. This is because they have 5 toes on each foot, four of which are clawed.
They grow to a length of around 80cm, so not a small animal , but the tail is 30-40cm of that length and has 2 thumbs at the end, again is bare and scaly underneath.
The female carries her newborns in a front opening pouch which has 4 teats, though up to three offspring is the usual number born at one time.
Breeding can take place at any time of year.
In colouring they range from tan to a creamy white with only the males having spots. This Cusucus too is omnivorous in the wild, although in captivity they enjoy meat and eggs too.
Like the other Cuscus they are mainly a nocturnal animal, hence the large eyes and sensitive nose. For me they are very beautiful particularly their markings and its so good to see that such UNIQUE animals are still going strong !!