Fun Cuscus Facts For Kids

Martha Martins
Oct 20, 2022 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Cuscus facts to know more about the cuscus animal.

The cuscus (genus phalanger) is a marsupial that is found in New Guinea Cape York in Australia and surrounding islands. They are often confused as sloths, possum, or monkeys.

They are small animals with a round shaped head, thick fur coat, strong tail, and small ears that are hidden from plain sight. Like all marsupial animals they have a pouch to keep their young ones.

Common spotted cuscus have slits for eyes like the snakes and the pupil color could be yellow, orange, or red. The cuscus has thick wooly fur coat, which can take different colors depending on the age and habitat.

The fur on the common spotted cuscus may change color as they age and reach sexual maturity. They may have fur colored red, white, buffs, brown, light grey, and black.

Common spotted cuscuses have a distinctive tail which is furry in the upper part which is closer to the body and the remaining skin is covered in rough scales which helps them to grip the branches better.

They are known to be nocturnal animals wherein the look for the food during night time and spend the day sleeping on platforms created by themselves on branches of various trees.

After reading about these interesting common spotted cuscus facts, do check out our other articles on Javan rhinoceros and fennec fox.

Cuscus Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a cuscus?

The cuscus (Spilocuscus maculatus) is a marsupial. There are 26 types of these marsupials. These animals are found in the Australian-Asian region. Cuscuses live on trees most of the time. Some of the most popular species of these arboreal marsupial animals are common spotted cuscus (Spilocuscus maculatus), mountain cuscus, ground cuscus, common cuscus, bear cuscus .

What class of animal does a cuscus belong to?

The class of animals the cuscus belongs to is mammals. Common spotted cuscuses are indigenous to the tropical forest of Northern Australian islands and New Guinea. Cuscus (marsupial) are furry small animals that live on trees in these forests and woodlands.

How many cuscus are there in the world?

The exact number of cuscuses on the islands of Australia and the Oceania region would be difficult to get. As they are shy creatures who prefer to live alone on the trees of the tropical forests, the loss of this habitat is a matter of concern for common spotted cuscus.

Where does a cuscus live?

The common spotted cuscus lives on the trees of the tropical rain forests, mangroves, hardwoods, and eucalypt forests. They are found in the forests of Australia, New Guinea, and the islands of Sulawesi and Solomon islands. They are indigenous to these regions only.

What is a cuscus' habitat?

Common spotted cuscus natural habitat comprises rainforests with trees like mangroves and eucalyptus. Cuscus who live in the mangroves will migrate to the tropical forest during the winters.

Cuscuses create their habitat in hollow trees. They also tend to create a platform on branches of a tree for resting during the day.

Common spotted cuscus can be found sleeping under a canopy of leaves when the weather gets really hot. During summer time, they prefer resting inside a hollow log of tree They prefer living in regions where their food requirements are taken care of by easy availability of fruit.

Who do cuscus live with?

The cuscus species is said to live alone as they are known to be shy creatures. Animals of this species spend most of their time alone eating and living alone. The male cuscus can be aggressive and confrontational with other males.

How long does a cuscus live?

The cuscus species has a lifespan of 8-12 years. They are slow-moving and sluggish creatures who spend most of their time lying on trees.

How do they reproduce?

The cuscus species is known to have their breeding season last the entire year. They have multiple partners, and mating takes place on tree branches.

There is still some research needed into their mating rituals. Though, it has been observed that these animals make different noises like hissing and clicking while the male is trying to woo the female for mating. The gestation (pregnancy) period for female cuscus is 20-42 days.

They can have 1-4 babies after the gestation period is complete. But the average is two babies for this species.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the cuscus has been categorized under the least concern category as the population is reported to be stable. The major concern for the decline in population would be the loss of the natural habitat of the species.

Cuscus Fun Facts

What do cuscuses look like?

The cuscus is a tree-living animal that looks like possums who are also marsupial. There are different varieties of cuscus species like blue-eyed spotted cuscus, Waigeo cuscus, admiralty cuscus, small Sulawesi cuscus, and others. They have vertical pupils and the color of the eyes can be blue, red, or orange.

This allows them to see at night. The big eyes are yellow rimmed, and the nose is also yellowish in color. The ears are hidden in the dense, thick fur.

Cuscus population is spread across New Guinea, Cape York in Australia.

How cute are they?

The cuscus species is definitely cute and cuddle-worthy. They are almost sloth-like, which means they are slow, sluggish, and chilled. They have long tails that are pretty strong, which help them hang from branches.

The animals of this species have a dense furry body which can be found in colors like black, white, tan or brown. The male cuscus comes with spots or blotches on their back. The females are spotless.

How do they communicate?

The cuscus is a lonely animal species who prefers to stay alone. They do not interact with another cuscus too. Especially males, cuscus are known to be territorial and aggressive. While mating, they do make sounds.

How big is a cuscus?

The cuscus is small to a medium-sized animal. Their body size is compact and suitable for climbing and staying on the tree. Their size is similar to that of a domestic cat.

How fast can a cuscus move?

The cuscus is an extremely slow-moving animal. They are known to be sluggish and lazy animals, much like the sloths. They spend most of their time on the branches of these trees, so this animal may not run or walk on the ground at all.

How much does a cuscus weigh?

The cuscus animal weighs between 3.3-13.2 lb. They weigh as much as a common cat or dog.

What are their male and female names of the species?

The male and female cuscus are not known to have separate names. They are known as male cuscus and female cuscus respectively.

What would you call a baby cuscus?

Baby cuscus are called joeys.

What do they eat?

The cuscus eats a variety of plant based food products. This animal mainly eats a diet comprising leaves of ficus, alstonia, and sloane plants, nectar and fruits of fucus, lithocarpus, aglia and possibly mischocarpus and pometia plants.

They are known to eat leaves and fruit, flowers, small animals and eggs. They mostly eat leaves of various trees and are known as folivores.

Are they aggressive?

The cuscus males are known to be very aggressive and territorial. Males cuscus will scent mark their territory to warn off other males.

This scent is a penetrating musk odor that comes from their bodies and scent glands excretions. They are known to apply saliva on the branches of trees to let others know about their territory and mediate social interactions.

If another male cuscus enters their territories they may bark, snarl, and make hissing noises and also stand upright to defend it.

Would they make a good pet?

It’s not ideal to have them as a pet due to their habitat on treetops, you would need a large yard with many trees for them to survive.

As the trees are not only their homes but also their way of sustenance and survival, it would be more beneficial to preserve the rainforest and woodlands of Australia and surrounding islands to help them live in their natural habitat.

Did you know...

In New Guinea, the cuscus is hunted for their meat and pelt, which does not have much economic value.

The cuscus has been introduced in Selayar, Mussau, and New Ireland by humans and it has thrived in these regions too.

The cuscus can survive at a high altitude of almost 3900 ft, in the dense forest areas of Australia.

The cuscus is an arboreal creature which means it lives on treetops.

They have five strong digits equipped with nails that are used for gripping the branched strongly. The nail also helps in grooming.

The tail serves as an extra limb for the cuscus.

The baby cuscus spends six to seven months in their mother’s pouch. They are born blind, deaf, and without fur. They only have the sense of smell, which they use to find their mothers pouch to nurse.

They are shy, solitary creatures who are slow-moving and sluggish. They prefer to hide from their predators and the sun underneath thick foliage of leaves or a hollow branch of a tree.

They are known to scratch, bite and kick their potential predators.

What do cuscus eat?

A cuscus is a folivore, which means it eats leaves of various fruit trees on which it lives as part of its diet. They are known to eat the leaves, nectar, and fruits of various plants as their diet. Sometimes, they can also prey on small animals and creatures for their diet.

What is a cuscus?

A cuscus is a large possum-like creature found in Oceania and the northern Australia region of Cape York. It is also a  marsupial like a possum. The cuscus is found on the island of New Guinea. They are also mistaken as sloths or monkeys.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including binturong, or red kangaroo.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our cuscus coloring pages.

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Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha Martins picture

Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

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