When the cuscus was discovered, it was thought to be a monkey because of its prosimian-like movements; it grips branches with its partially hairless, prehensile tail as it travels slowly and deliberately through the rain-forest canopy.
It eats leaves, fruit, reptiles, and birds.
During the day it rests, usually in a hollowed out part of a tree or on a platform it has made for itself in the branches.
Although the male is always spotted, the female usually is not.
The largest of the possums, the cuscus is still actively hunted by the people of New Guinea, who value its protein-rich meat.
Name: Spotted Cuscus (Phalangista maculata)
Family: Phalangeridae (Possums and Cuscuses)
Range: New Guinea, surrounding islands of northeastern Australia
Habitat: Tropical rain forest and mangroves
Diet: Fruit, leaves and flowers
Head and Body Length: 13 to 26 inches (34 to 65 cm)
Tail Length: 12 to 24 inches (31 to 60 cm)
Weight: 3 to 13 pounds (1.5 to 6 kg)
Life Cycle: Mating year-round; gestation 13 days, two to four young born; only one survives, staying in mother's pouch for six to seven months
Description: Males are white with chestnut and gray spots; females are gray; dense, woolly fur; short snout; small, red-rimmed eyes; round face; small ears; long, prehensile tail
Conservation Status: Common
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