IUCN threat status:

Near Threatened (NT)

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Biology

The chuditch is a solitary and nocturnal marsupial with a territorial attitude towards its home range, particularly the central core area of the range which is marked by many dens. Males and females do not meet outside of the May to July breeding season, although males territories, at about 15 km², overlap with several female ranges, at about three to four square kilometres each, and may also overlap with the peripheries of other male territories. Female home ranges do not overlap. A typical female territory might contain around 70 hollow log dens and 110 burrows. The chuditch sleeps in hollow logs, stone piles, and burrows dug both by themselves and left by other animals (3). Pregnant females will give birth to between two and six young per year after a gestation period of 17 to 18 days. The young marsupials move directly into the shallow pouch of their mother where they remain for a further eight to nine weeks (5). Following this period, they remain with their mother but are often left in the large burrow she constructed before giving birth, while she forages for herself and for her offspring. The young are independent at 18 weeks, leaving their mother's home range to find their own. At one year they are sexually mature and most will breed (3). The chuditch is essentially opportunistic, although fruit is not a common part of the diet. Small to medium sized mammals, lizards, frogs and large invertebrates are common prey in arid habitats, and insects, freshwater crustaceans, reptiles, birds and mammals are common prey in forest habitats. Carrion is also consumed, as are small fruits and flower-parts and the red pulp surrounding Zamia seeds (2) (4). The chuditch obtains all the liquid it requires from its diet, so rarely drinks and is able to remain active in temperatures as low as zero degrees Celsius (4).

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Source: ARKive

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