Numbat Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

When you think of Australian animals, you probably think about kangaroos or koalas. The numbat is another interesting mammal that calls Australia home. Learn about the numbat, including its appearance, diet, home, and the challenges it faces.

What Is a Numbat?

If you had to pick the most delicious meal in the world, what would it be? Cheeseburgers and fries? Gooey cheesy pizza? How about crunchy termites? Although you may be gagging right now, one animal is licking their chops in anticipation of such an amazing meal: the numbat!

Numbats are small animals found in Australia. They are known as 'banded anteaters' because they resemble anteaters, even though they're actually not a type of anteater. Numbats are also called 'tiny tigers' because of their stripes.


Don't worry, these little creatures rarely attack anything, unless you're a termite. With a long, pointed snout and a sticky tongue, numbats dig for termites in logs, on the forest floor, and inside of small holes. Numbats can eat up to 20,000 in one day! Nothing says delicious like a breakfast, lunch, and dinner of creepy crawly termites, right? Ewww!

Now that's you've lost your appetite, let's investigate the numbat.

Interesting Facts

Can you imagine mothers walking around with their children attached to them at all times? As weird as it sounds for humans, baby numbats do this for the first 6-7 months of their lives! That's because numbats are a type of marsupial, or a group of animals where babies remain attached to their mother after birth. Unlike their cousins the kangaroos, numbats don't have a pouch, so the baby just attaches itself to the mother's chest underneath an extra flap of skin.

After a numbat is separated from its mother, it lives in logs and old trees found on the forest floor. They use dried leaves, sticks, grass, and tree bark to make beds inside their homes. Numbat homes are found wherever there is a good supply of termites. Also, don't expect to see numbats living together. They are so dependent on having enough termites to eat that they live by themselves once they are able to survive on their own. Sounds like someone needs to learn how to share their termites!

Termites on a log

Numbats are diurnal, which means they are active during the day. They do not like extreme cold or extreme heat, so they adjust their termite hunting times according to the weather outside. The stripes on their fur help to camouflage them against the floor of the forest as they hunt. Eyes located on the sides of their heads help them to see approaching predators.

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