Couscous: lazy, spotted and fluffy (9 photos)

Category: Animals, PEGI 0+
13 November 2023

Couscous is a well-known wheat grain. But she's not the only one. There is a secretive but very cute animal with the same name, carefully hiding in the Australian forests until 1803.

It was then that the French naturalist Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, diligently walking under a thick exotic crown, heard a strange quiet noise.

“Apparently rats,” thought Saint-Hilaire.

“You yourself are a rat,” the couscous was offended.

Whether such a mental dialogue took place between what is being discovered and the discovery is no longer known after years have passed. But before this fateful meeting, the two-incisor marsupial mammal from the cuscus family carefully hid from people due to its natural delicacy, shyness and modesty.

The body length of the big-eyed shy creature varies from 40 to 70-odd centimeters. And the tail itself also grows to the same levels. Weight, depending on the habitat and food supply, ranges from 4-6 kg.

The animals boast very dense thick fur. Couscous guys are real dudes. Their beige coat is decorated with prominent red, chocolate and black spots. Ladies more modestly and proudly wear laconic gray attire.

The cuscus is nocturnal and, at nightfall, gets out of a cozy hollow or dense foliage and begins to walk around the territory entrusted to it. Well, that is, no one entrusted this hectare to the animal; he himself chooses it for life upon reaching puberty and diligently protects it from the invasion of strangers. Guys warn strangers with disgruntled rumbling and barking and can even start a fight. The girls are calmer and try to go their separate ways without colliding.

The animals are almost vegan. And the basis of their diet consists of all sorts of plant delicacies - leaves, buds, flowers, young shoots, ripe fruits. But sometimes the spotted couscous diversifies its menu with animal food - bird eggs and small vertebrates, patiently waiting for the latter in ambush or very slowly, due to its characteristics, approaching a potential victim and dealing with it with rather sharp claws.

After reaching marriageable age - about a year - the time for almost continuous love begins. Since the season in the natural environment is limited only by pregnancy in females. After the act of love, the well-done future father dissolves in the foliage and does not take part in the nurturing and education of the little couscous.

Interestingly, the females insist on the act itself. Immediately after sending a grown-up child out into the wild, they begin to scream into the night, calling for potential lovers with a cry reminiscent of a donkey. Apparently, if they hadn’t been in trouble, the representatives of the stronger half would not have been able to tear themselves away from idle doing nothing. And the couscous line would simply be interrupted.

The female's pregnancy is short, only a couple of weeks. After this, the literally centimeter-long babies born - one or at most two - move into a cozy mother's bag and live there for six months. After the specified time, they crawl onto their mother’s back and travel for up to 10 months, and then, having learned all the wisdom of adult life, they set off on an independent voyage.

Couscous is kept well in captivity. But only in an enclosure: for an apartment dweller, the animal emits a very strong musky smell. With good care, cute dogs live up to 10 years or more. Owners are not given any trouble due to their natural modesty and shyness. The main thing is to periodically stir the couscous and move the goodies away from it. So that the slow fluffy will be at least a little active and not turn into a fluffy fat ball.

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