Sunday, January 06, 2008

What is this?

Annie D. sent a pic of this little critter titled "baby chupacabra". She was kidding but we don't know what it might be. I think the ears look rather "batty", but as Annie says it has an apparent tail. Marsupial?

Anyone have an idea? Darren? Carel?

Update: "Batwrangler" Sheila comes up with an ID: it's a newly discovered eastern pygmy possum.

More pix here.


Mark Churchill said...

The update leaves off abruptly with "It's an" -- answer undisclosed. But to me it looks like a young sugar glider (Petaurus breviceps) or some close relative thereof. Yes, marsupial. Superficially, they're very like flying squirrels, with a patagium that allows them to glide from tree to tree, using the tail as a rudder of sorts. They're nocturnal (hence the big eyes), again like flying squirrels. They're primarily frugivorous and nectarivorous, but also eat a fair number of insects and even vertebrate prey (including birds) when they can.

My wife has a trio of adult sugar gliders, and on one occasion the male got loose overnight and managed to kill one of our orange-cheeked waxbills through the mesh of the aviary.

Mark said...

PS: On second look, the critter in the picture doesn't have big eyes, so I could be wrong about the ID. Adult sugar gliders have eyes nearly bulging out of their heads. But since they're born blind and only "half-baked", so to speak, the small eyes on this critter could reflect an early developmental stage...

Steve Bodio said...

Sorry Mark-- Blogger ate some text, now restored.

Annie and I had decided "Marsupial" but had gotten no further.

Funny, flying squirrels will eat birds too.

Annie D said...

And not just 'apparent tail'; it looks like a kinkajou tail, as in prehensile and furry.

PBurns said...

A picture of the giant rat (world's largest) found at the same time as the pygmy possum can be seen here (at bottom of post) >>

You would think the rat would eat the possum in the real world.