Today’s featured animal is a small shrew-like marsupial that can be found occupying open forests or swampy areas throughout Tasmania. Yes, we are taking a long trip to the southern portion of Australia. I guarantee it will be worth it though since this area is beautiful and the Swamp Antechinus is one interesting little rodent. This particular marsupial is also known as the Little Tasmanian Marsupial Mouse and just happens to be related to a few other cool animals such as the Quoll and the ever popular, Tasmanian Devil. I can imagine their family reunions get a little scary when you have a cute little mouse-like creature hanging out with a vicious, fearless devil. I guess every family has at least one of these though.
Nothing Beats a Pouch
So what makes the Swamp Antechinus unique? There a few characteristic that makes this creature very interesting but I think the fact that such a small rodent can be a marsupial is pretty cool. Remember that being a marsupial means you give birth to your little “joeys” and then they hop inside your pouch where they will finish growing. Typically the Swamp Antechinus will give birth to 6-8 joeys every year with a gestation period of up to 32 days, which may seem pretty short but you trying carrying 8 kids in a pouch for a month.
Make Full Use of Your Time
Unfortunately for this rodent, they don’t have a whole lot of time to spend on this beautiful planet of ours. Generally the females will not live into a second year, while the males hardly make it past mating season (May-August). As you can imagine, they have to take full advantage of their short time on earth. This may be why the Swamp Antechinus is mostly nocturnal but also comes out during the day to forage. I guess they figure that they will have plenty of time to sleep later so they might as well enjoy all 24 hours of the day.
The Tasmania Saviour
Surprisingly, this rodent actually has a stable population, despite their short life-span. The reasoning behind this is the habitat protection these little creatures are receiving in Tasmania. Unfortunately, the same thing can’t be said for the rodents living on the mainland in southern Australia. As the habitat gets destroyed, their population is decreasing quite rapidly. Hopefully, the Tasmania population will continue to thrive in order to keep this species around for a very long time.