Already became extinct in the Northern Territory, now limited to NE South Australia and SW Queensland

Elias Neideck



Already became extinct in the Northern Territory, now limited to NE South Australia and SW Queensland

Population 5,000

A small yet formidable carnivorous marsupial native to Australia, it presents a fascinating study of adaptation and survival in arid environments. Characterized by an ashy-grey coat with undertones of brown, the Kowari’s appearance is both subtle and effective for blending into its natural habitat. The transition of its coat from grey to white on the underside serves as an additional camouflage mechanism, especially when the Kowari is seen from below by aerial predators. A distinctive dark band encircles their eyes, adding to their keen, alert expression, while the unique black brush of hairs at the tail’s end distinguishes it from closely related species like the mulgara. This brush can be held erect, possibly serving as a signaling mechanism among Kowaris or as a defensive display to appear larger to predators.

Primarily ground-dwelling, Kowaris exhibit a bounding gait that allows them to move swiftly across the desert floor, dodging predators and pursuing prey with agility. Despite their terrestrial nature, they possess an unexpected proficiency in climbing, which they may use to escape predators or explore their environment further.

As carnivores, Kowaris have a diet that primarily consists of invertebrates, including insects and spiders, but they are also known to hunt small vertebrates such as birds and rodents. This dietary flexibility ensures they can capitalize on the variety of prey available in their habitat, an essential trait for survival in the often harsh and resource-scarce Australian desert.

One of the most intriguing aspects of Kowari’s behavior is its method of thermoregulation. Unlike many animals that shiver to generate heat in cold temperatures, Kowaris are observed to shiver more frequently during hot temperatures. This unusual behavior is believed to be a strategy for thermoregulation, possibly helping to dissipate excess body heat and maintain a stable internal temperature despite the external heat.


Population est.
Official estimate

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No