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World Numbat Day – November 5, 2022

World Numbat Day is observed annually on the first Saturday of November, which takes place on November 5 this year. The numbat, a.k.a. banded anteater or walpurti, is an insectivorous marsupial that almost exclusively eats termites. The numbat is considered the faunal emblem of Western Australia. This species was once widespread in Southern Australia but is now limited to a few small colonies in Western Australia, with an estimated wild population of less than 1,000.

As an endangered species, it’s protected by different conservation programs. Recently, numbats have been re-introduced to fenced-in nature reserves in South Australia and New South Wales. On World Numbat Day, conservation groups raise awareness about this amazing mammal. They also raise funds for researching and protecting it. Zoos in Australia also participate via special exhibitions with images of the numbat.

History of World Numbat Day

World Numbat Day is a holiday that celebrates the unique mammal emblem of Western Australia and encourages conservation efforts. The founder and origins of the day are still unknown.

The numbat, also known as banded anteater or walpurti, is an insectivorous marsupial. Its diet consists almost exclusively of termites. This species was once widespread in Southern Australia but is now limited to a few small colonies in Western Australia. Therefore, it is an endangered species and is protected by different conservation programs. Recently, numbats have been re-introduced to fenced-in nature reserves in South Australia and New South Wales. The numbat is considered the faunal emblem of Western Australia.

Unlike most other marsupials, the numbat leads a daily life, mainly due to the restrictions of a special diet. Numbats are not big and have five toes on their front paws and four on their hind legs. However, like other mammals that eat termites or ants, the numbat has a degenerate jaw with up to 50 small, non-functional teeth, and although it can chew, it rarely does.

World Numbat Day timeline

19th Century
The Decimation of the Numbat Population

The deliberate release of the European red fox wipes out the entire population of numbats in Victoria, N.S.W., South Australia, and almost all numbats in Western Australia.

1980
A Conservation Program

An intensive research and conservation program is created to help increase the population of numbats.

2006
Project Numbat

Volunteers of this program help save the numbat from extinction by raising funds and awareness.

2020
The Re-introduction of Numbats

It begins at a large fenced-in nature reserve in Mallee Cliffs National Park in New South Wales.

World Numbat Day FAQs

Why are numbats important?

The numbat is a faunal emblem of Western Australia and has the role of restraining termites.

How did the numbat become endangered?

The main reasons for the decline in its numbers are the loss of habitat and being eaten by foxes brought by Europeans in the 1800s.

Is the numbat related to the Tasmanian tiger?

It is not closely related to any marsupial, but still, one of its closest relatives is the now extinct Tasmanian tiger.

How to Observe World Numbat Day

  1. Make a donation

    Donate to organizations concerned with protecting numbats or endangered species in general. Project Numbat could be a good place to start. Project Numbat is a volunteer non-profit organization that promotes community awareness.

  2. Do your role

    Fulfilling your role in raising awareness is the best way to help. It’s the main aim of the day, after all. Spread information about the holiday and these mammals on social media.

  3. Learn about numbats

    If you've never heard of or known about these mammals, World Numbat Day is the perfect day to learn about them. Look it up to see what a numbat looks like, how it lives in general, and in what habitat.

5 Facts About This Unique Animal

  1. Sense of smell

    It uses its sense of smell to find shallow and unfortified underground galleries that termites build between the nest and the feeding place.

  2. It eats a lot of termites

    It eats 20,000 termites daily — the adult numbat spends most of its time searching for termites.

  3. Vocalizations

    During the breeding season, the female and male vocalize by producing a series of soft clicks.

  4. Breeding season

    The breeding season is in February and March — Numbat gestation lasts 15 days and, as a result, four babies are born.

  5. Its discovery in 1831

    The animal was discovered by a research team that explored the Avon Valley under the leadership of Robert Dale.

Why World Numbat Day is Important

  1. New animals

    It’s a chance to get introduced to these unique cute mammals. You’ll fall in love immediately.

  2. Balance

    Just like all other animals, numbats have their role in the ecosystem, which includes keeping termites in check. Dedicating a day to these endangered species helps maintain the balance of our world.

  3. Appreciating nature

    Learn about numbats and their roles. It will help you to sincerely appreciate how beautiful nature is.

World Numbat Day dates

YearDateDay
2022November 5Saturday
2023November 4Saturday
2024November 2Saturday
2025November 1Saturday
2026November 7Saturday

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