Spotted Cuscus - Colorful, Shy Marsupial
The cuscus (related to possoms) has to be one of the more colorful marsupials you will ever see with its gray/brown spots on white or yellowish body fur. The males however are the only ones with spots while the females are mostly gray or white. As they grow from newborn to adult, their fur continues to change in pattern and color. Their snake-like eyes are also a colorful red, orange or yellow. They are not so big at 4 to 13 pounds (1.5 - 6 kg) but have sturdy paws with claws and a curled prehensile tail for good climbing and gripping. They have round heads with hidden ears.
The cuscus lives in New Guinea, the northeastern tip of Australia (Cape York) and a few islands nearby in densely wooded areas. They are very shy and not often seen especially because they sleep in the trees during the day. They live alone and males mark their territory with a musky scent. Males may bark, hiss and fight with other males they encounter.
The cuscus eats all kinds of plant matter, fruits and on occasion small animals like birds and lizards or eggs. Newborns are born after only two weeks (usually one or two) but they stay in the mothers pouch for several months. Deforestation threatens their habitat.