Jan Telfer

'Our Numbat, Western Australia'

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Handprinted woodblocks on Fabriano Paper (200gsm)

Our Numbat, Western Australia. The Numbat is our Western Australian State Fauna Emblem. The Numbat is a marsupial animal surviving only in small patches of forest in Western Australia's south-west. Each is the size of a large rat or small cat. Numbats eat an exclusive diet of termites, but they are not strong enough to break into termite mounds themselves, so they wait for termites to venture out into their shallow feeding galleries. The Numbat lifestyle is very closely linked to termite movements. In summer termites are out early in the day but retreat deeper into the soil as the temperature increases. During the heat of the day numbats retreat to a hollow log and wait for the cooler part of the afternoon when termites are close to the surface again. In winter termites and numbats remain active from late morning till dusk. Although it is a marsupial, the numbat doesn't have a pouch. The tiny young when born are attached to the mother's teats, protected by long body hairs. Numbats are endangered due to the combined effects of three main factors - habitat clearing, changed fire patterns and introduced predators, mainly foxes and cats. Fires are particularly devastating since they not only kill the animals, but remove the hollow log homes and reduce the amount of food available to them.

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