A-Z of animals : Pademelon to Ringtail
Abundant throughout Tasmania, the Pademelon feeds on herbs and green shoots. Males, considerably larger than females, have a muscular chest and forearms, and reach up to 12 kg (26 lb) in weight and 1.2m (4 ft) in length. The young, with a pouch life of 6 months, are weaned at 8 months. Longevity in the wild may be 5 – 6 years. Pademelon belong to the family Macropodidae, which includes kangaroos, wallabies, tree-kangaroos, quokkas and others.
The best known of endangered species, the Panda, or Giant Panda, is a member of the bear family (see “Bears” in Animals: Animals ABC). The panda has the digestive system of a carnivore, but long ago adapted to a vegetarian diet and now feeds almost exclusively on the stems and leaves of bamboo. Panda cubs weigh only 90g (3 oz) at birth. Fully grown pandas weigh 100 kg (220 lb) and live 10 to 15 years.
Pangolin, also referred to as a scaly anteater or trenggiling.
Panther: see Puma
Parrots, the third most popular pet in the United States.
Peccary: Collared Peccary (Javelina), the only wild, native, piglike animal found in the United States.
Penguin: some twenty species of aquatic, flightless birds found only in the Southern Hemisphere, especially in Antarctica.
Pipistelle: a genus of bats.
Platypus: With a fleshy sensitive duck bill, webbed feet, a tail like a beaver and a double coat of fur, the platypus is the only mammal that is poisonous. On each ankle, the male Platypus has sharp poisonous spurs which can kill small animals. Together with the Echidna, they are the only egg-laying mammals.
Porcupine: Old World porcupine, found in Africa, Asia and Europe, and New World porcupine, indigenous to North America and northern South America.
Porpoise: distinct from dolphins, porpoises have shorter beaks and flattened, spade-shaped teeth. There are eight species of porpoise.
Burmeister’s Porpoise or Black Porpoise
Dall’s Porpoise, the largest porpoise.
Indo-Pacific Finless Porpoise
Narrow-ridged Finless Porpoise
Yangtze Finless Porpoise
Vaquita, endemic to the northern part of the Gulf of California. It is the world’s most rare marine mammal, on the edge of extinction.
Prairie Dog: a type of burrowing ground squirrel, found in North America. From a distance a prairie dog might look like a meerkat in the way it sits up on its hind legs but they are two entirely different species, the meerkat being from the mangoose family while the prairie dog is a rodent related to the chipmunk, ground squirrel and marmot (the family Sciuridae). Also, the bigger meerkat is an omnivore (eats meat, eggs and plants) while the priarie dog is a herbivore (eats plants). There are five prairie dog species.
Black-tailed Prairie Dog
Gunnison’s Prairie Dog
Mexican Prairie Dog
Utah Prairie Dog
White-tailed Prairie Dog
Found only on America’s Great Plains, the Pronghorn is the only surviving member of its family, Antilocapridae. Smaller than the white-tailed deer, the mature buck weighs 60 kg (132 lb), and is extremely fast, running at up to 90 km/h (56 mph). The male developslarge pronged horns which average about 30 cm (1 ft) and are shed each year. The smaller female sometimes develops short horns that are rarely as long as her ears.
Puku: of the Kobus genus of antelopes (kob, lechwe, puku and waterbucks). A medium-sized antelope, weighs up to 80 kg (180 lb), found in the savanna woodlands and floodplains of south-central Africa. The horns of the male can grow up to 50 cm (almost 20 inches) long.
A cat of many names, the Puma is also known as the Cougar, Panther (including the black panther and Florida Panther) or Mountain Lion. In hunting, the puma uses the strength of its powerful hind legs to lunge at its prey with single running jumps that can reach in excess of 12m (40 ft). A puma is quite big; it weighs up to 68 kg (150 lb) and grows to 2m (6’5″) in length. It’s also fast, reaching speeds of up to 80 km/h (50 mph). The lifespan of a puma is 10 – 15 years.
Quokka: A type, Setonix brachyurus, of the Macropodidae family (dorcopsis, kangeroo, pademelon, wallaby and others), the quokka were one of the first Australian mammals seen by Europeans, first explained as a “a wild cat”. They have a well-developed pecking order in their groups of 25-150. They breed once a year and a female quokka produces a single joey.
Found mostly in Tasmania, the spotted-tailed Quoll (or “tiger cat” as it was once inappropriately known) is the second largest of the world’s surviving carnivorous marsupials. Measuring up to 130 cm (51in) long and 4 kg (8.8 lb) in weight, they prey on rats, gliding possums, small wallabies, reptiles and insects.
Rat: genus Rattus
Banner-tailed Kangaroo Rat
Desert Kangaroo Rat
Fresno Kangaroo Rat
Giant Kangaroo Bat
Heermann’s Kangaroo Rat
Hispid Cotton Rat
Hoary Bamboo Rat
Marsh Rice Rat
Merriam’s Kangaroo Rat
Ord’s Kangaroo Rat
Southern Plains Woodrat
Stephen’s Kangaroo Rat
Red Panda: Not related to the Giant Panda, it is the only surviving member of the Ailuridae animal family group. Slightly larger than a domestic cat, with a bear-like body, auburn fur and long, shaggy tail. Native to the eastern Himalayas and south-western China where they spend most of their time in trees. Red Pandas are victims of deforestation and an endangered species.
Rhinoceros or Rhino: five species of odd-toed ungulate (three toes on each foot) mammals. These large, primitive-looking mammals have been hunted to near extinction. Since 1970 the rhino population has declined by 90%.
Black Rhino or Hooked-lipped Rhino: weighs up to 1,800 kg (4,000 lb), standing up to 2 metres (6.6 ft) tall. Part of the Big Five.
Indian Rhino, a single-horn rhino nearly as large as the White Rhino.
Javan Rhino: The rarest of all rhinos, only a few remaining. on the edge of existence.
Sumatran Rhino, the smallest rhino.
White Rhino or square-lipped rhino. The largest rhino, weighing up to 2,400 kg (5,000 lb). Both the black and white rhino have two horns.
Ringtail or ringtail cat, miner’s cat or bassarisk. A mammal of the raccoon family, thus not a cat. Native to arid regions of North America.