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Australia's Cutest Animal Is This Weird Marsupial Mole
Updated: February 9, 2020
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What is it called?
There are two species of marsupial mole, the only two surviving members of the Notoryctid family. They’re referred to by two sets of names. In scientific literature, they’re usually called the northern and southern marsupial moles. But the names given to them by the indigenous peoples of central Australia are also sometimes used: the northern marsupial mole is the kakarratul, and the southern is the itjaritjari.
Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons (commons.wikimedia.org).
How does it get around?
Studying the marsupial mole is difficult in part because of its movement patterns. It digs through the soft sand of its environment using its huge, shovel-like front claws, but it doesn’t create tunnels—it backfills behind itself. The movement is more like swimming through sand than digging. In case you’re worrying about air, the marsupial mole has very low oxygen requirements; it seems able to survive perfectly well by breathing the meager air trapped between grains of sand under the surface of the desert.
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