Fun Marsupial Lion Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Feb 15, 2024 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Nov 04, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Marsupial lion facts are all about an extinct lion species of the Thylacoleo genus
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.9 Min

The marsupial lion (Thylacoleo carnifex) is an extinct predator that inhabited South Australia years ago. It was the largest Australian carnivore and the first fossil mammal of Australia. The marsupial lion is described as an ambush predator.

They were also scavengers and fed on carrions, using their powerful jaws and teeth. These extinct species had large incisors in place of canines and ferocious thumb claws, with which they disemboweled their prey in seconds. The marsupial lion is regarded as the final species of the Thylacoleonidae family.

Their hind feet were powerful and helped them to run after their prey. They had retractable claws encased in a sheath, just like the cats.

Their fossils suggested that they had a pseudo-opposable thumb, which probably helped them in climbing trees. The powerful bite of these lions makes them one of the most dangerous predators that once existed in the world and terrorized other animals with their savage hunting skills. Keep on reading and find out more interesting facts on the marsupial lions.

If you like reading this article, then do check out addax facts and Cuban solenodon facts here on Kidadl.

Marsupial Lion Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a marsupial lion?

The marsupial lion is an extinct species of marsupial mammals, which is considered the last member of the Thylacoleonidae family.

What class of animal does a marsupial lion belong to?

The marsupial lion (Thylacoleo carnifex) belongs to the class Mammalia, just like the horses, cats, and tigers.

How many marsupial lions are there in the world?

Currently, there is no marsupial lion that exists in the world. These lion species are extinct and inhabited the forests of Australia years ago.

Where does a marsupial lion live?

The marsupial lions resided in South Australia 1,600,000-46,000 years ago. Their fossils were found on the Nullarbor Plain.

Cave paintings of these lion species were first seen in Northwest Australia in the year 2006. Their fossil footprints, along with the jawbone preserved in limestone, were discovered in a dried-out lake, present in Southeast Victoria in the year 2009.

Their fossils were found extensively in various parts of Australia, including the Darling Downs in Queensland, Wellington caves in New South Wales, and Naracoorte caves in South Australia. Fossils were also seen in large numbers in the Thylacoleo cave on the Nullarbor Plain, which is located in Western Australia.

What is a marsupial lion's habitat?

The extinct marsupial lions used to inhabit the forests of Australia, and the paleontological evidence also suggests that they used to inhabit dry open forest regions which were in close proximity to the waterbodies.

Who does a marsupial lion live with?

Not much information is available on the social life of marsupial lions. However, cave paintings and several other paleontological findings shed some light on the savage hunting skills of the lion, which terrorized ancient Australia during its reign.

How long does a marsupial lion live?

There is no information available on the lifespan of marsupial lions.

How do they reproduce?

Although not much evidence is found on the reproductive behavior of these lions belonging to the Thylacoleo genus, it can be derived that they exhibited the characteristic features of other marsupial animals. Sexual dimorphism was seen in these animals.

Just like other mammals, they directly give birth to their babies. The babies are delivered at their embryonic stage, and later, they develop inside the pouch of their female parents.

The placenta of the females is yolk sacs, which provide the nutrients required for the growth ad development of the baby inside. Their gestation period lasts only about six to seven weeks.

Within their pouch, the developing embryo is nourished with milk. After reaching the juvenile stage, the babies tend to leave the pouch for a short while and return to seek warmth.

What is their conservation status?

The marsupial lion (Thylacoleo carnifex) is listed as an Extinct species by the IUCN belonging to the Thylacoleo genus. This ambush predator lived approximately 1,600,000-46,000 years ago.

Human activities are considered to be the main cause of their extinction. Ancient humans were thought to hunt down these animals for their flesh. Habitat loss and changing climate also contributed to their extinction.

Marsupial Lion Fun Facts

What does a marsupial lion look like?

Researchers found the bones of these extinct species in various parts of Australia. The marsupial lion skull is quite small, with the presence of postorbital bar seen in other primates.

They used to possess sharp serrated incisors that resembled canines. The structure of their hind feet bones provides evidence that these animals were not agile runners and used to hunt their prey with more of a trotting movement.

Further, the paleontologic shreds of evidence obtained from their hind feet show that these animal species were good at climbing trees. Their small skull size had a wide jaw that contained sharp teeth, which were capable of inflicting a powerful bite on their prey.

Researchers also found evidence of retractable claws encased in a sheath in this predator. The tail bones suggest that the tail of these mammals was a powerful body part.

The tail helped them to climb trees. The marsupial lions also used their tail along with their limbs to balance their body and ward off their predators.

The marsupial lion had powerful jaws and sharp teeth.

How cute are they?

They are not cute because of their savage looks, which include sharp claws and teeth. These animals existed years ago and terrorized entire ancient Australia.

How do they communicate?

Not much information is available on the modes of communication of these mammals. However, just like other marsupials, they are thought to possess olfactory and auditory modes of communication.

How big is a marsupial lion?

The marsupial lion size is about 5 ft (152.4 cm) and 2 ft (61 cm) in height. They are way bigger in size than the marsupial animal Pilbara ningaui.

How fast can a marsupial lion run?

The evidence collected from their fossil suggests that these animals were slow runners and instead used a trotting motion to chase animals. Their fossil of tail bones also suggests that they were great climbers.

How much does a marsupial lion weigh?

Researchers give an estimation on the weight of these animals to be about 286.6 lb (130 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

No specific names are given to the male and female species of the extinct marsupial lion.

What would you call a baby marsupial lion?

A baby marsupial lion is called a cub.

What do they eat?

The marsupial lion fossil suggests that they were carnivorous animals and preyed on a variety of animals. These animals are also considered scavengers as they ate the flesh of carrion.

Are they dangerous?

These animals were dangerous predators and used to terrorize entire ancient Australia with their savage hunting skills.

Would they make a good pet?

These animals were ambush predators. They are also extinct.

Did you know...

The skull discovery of this animal first took place in the year 1956, and the entire skeleton, except the foot and the tail, was discovered at Moree, NSW, in 1966. Many paleontologists suggest that these animals were linked to the herbivores, while others think that they are linked to a possum ancestor (Phalangeroidea).

Did the marsupial lion have a pouch?

Just like other marsupial animals, these predators also had a pouch in which their cubs underwent their developing stage.

Why did the marsupial lion go extinct?

The main reason attributed to the extinction of these animals is humans. Climate change could be another contributing factor, with the disappearance of their prey also aiding their extinction.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our golden takin facts and otter facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Congo lion coloring pages.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

Read full bio >