Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Cuscus: The Weirdest Animal You’ve Never Heard Of

The bear cuscus is an animal you may never have heard of before. It is not a bear, and is not to be confused with couscous. A bear cuscus is an Indonesian marsupial of the possum suborder that has fur like a bear, acts like a sloth, and is often conflated with the slow loris, which is a primate. To the layman, a cuscus is like a mixture of all kinds of animals in one species just minding its own business. The bear cuscus looks like a pretty generic mammal, which causes some confusion. There are other cuscus species that are more colorful and specialized, some that resemble monkeys and others that will remind you of shrews. The many species of cuscuses are another indicator of how  animals, especially marsupials, can evolve and diversify magnificently when they aren't pressured by predators. That has changed with imported invasive predators and human activity encroaching on their habitats.  

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