Fun Facts About The Cuscus Of Papua New Guinea

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Not so many moons ago I stayed a couple of days with a tribe in Papua New Guinea in the jungle of Madang. The tribe kept quite possibly the oddest, most unique-looking animal that I have seen so far on my travels. I didn’t even know that it existed – the closest thing to it that I had personally witnessed was a sloth.

I figured that the tribe were keeping it for meat, but it turned out to be their pet after valid concerns over the emblematic animal’s welfare in the rainforest. When I got back to ‘the real world,’ I got the kettle on and read up on this cute, elusive creature.

Facts About The Common Spotted Cuscus

. The Cuscus is a large marsupial native to the Northern forest of Australia and Papua New Guinea, about the size of a house cat with ‘more to love.’

. Although it looks somewhat of a mix between a monkey and a sloth, the cuscus is actually a subspecies of the possum.

.  The Cuscus is a primarily nocturnal animal, sleeping throughout the day and wakes up at night in search of food throughout the trees, feasting on small birds, reptiles, leaves and fruit. Yeah, you thought this adorable little thing was herbivorous didn’t you? Sorry to disappoint.

. Bigger birds do get revenge for their bird pals though, as the cuscus’ main predators are often larger birds of prey who attack and eat the baby cuscus.

. Humans are the biggest predator though, as deforestation, meat and lust for its thick, wooly fur are the catalysts for the death of most cuscus species.

. The cuscus is a shit predator in the grand scheme of things. It has an extremely low metabolism and body temperature, they have a similar speed to a sloth and rarely catch other animals.

. They are not yet on the official endangered species list as of yet – they are certified as ‘vulnerable’ with wildlife campaigners The Wildlife Conservation Society in Papua New Guinea doing all they can to preserve the future of cuscus. “It’s a lovely animal with a chestnut-burgundy coat, yellow racing stripes on the back and it’s beautiful,” WCS biologist Nathan Whitmore said.

“Because it’s beautiful the people who live in this region have been using it for ceremonial dress for thousands of years.”

. If human interaction and scary as f**k birds don’t kill them, cuscus live from 8-12 years.

. Although they are generally shy creatures, the male cuscus can become extremely aggressive with other male cuscus. They spit on branches and twigs of trees to inform others of their territory and mediate social interactions. If they encounter another male in their area, they make barking, snarling, and hissing noises, and stand upright to defend their territories.

. Cuscuses are a little slutty and they shag all year round with multiple partners. The gestation period for a pregnant female is around 13 days, with a pouch period of 6–7 months. When the babies (usually 2-3 per time) are born, they only weigh around a gram and live in the pouches of their mother, much like in the kangaroo world until they reach maturity. Only one in three tend to survive the full 6-7 months though.

I Hope You Enjoyed The Facts About The Elusive Cuscus!

Madang, Papua New Guinea and the tribe!


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