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Predators with Pouches

Synopsis

Exploring the secret lives of the world’s scariest marsupials!

Baby-faced bone crunchers, solitary assassins, suicidal sex maniacs – they are the carnivorous marsupials and they are coming your way! These pouched predators are relatives of the adorable, cuddly koala. But hold one and you might lose a finger! The biggest of the carnivorous marsupials is the Tasmanian Devil; familiar to many; famous enough to have been characterised as a ravenous, crazy beast by Walt Disney. But there are many, many, more carnivorous marsupials lurking in the shadows of Australia, New Guinea and South America.

They come in all shapes, sizes and patterns; from the three gram Pilbara Ningaui to the 14 kilogram Tasmanian Devil. There’s the striped Numbat, the fat-tailed Dunnart and the spotted Quoll. And animals you’ve never heard of like Mulgaras, Dibblers, Kalutas and Kowaris; that live from desert to rainforest.

One man is on a mission to unveil their secret lives. Dr Andrew Baker is the world’s leading expert on carnivorous marsupials. Since 2012, he and his team have discovered five new species of Antechinus. The Antechinus is one of the most voracious of the pouched carnivores. When a male mates, the act is so frenzied that his immune system collapses. Every last male dies after sex.

Baker has devised unconventional ways of seeking out carnivorous marsupials. In the remotest places he deploys an eager Springer spaniel called Bunya. Bunya is trained to differentiate between carnivorous marsupial species and locate them. (Bunya has been trained NOT to retrieve.)

We will follow Baker across Australia from arid lands to tablelands, into the jungles of New Guinea and South America in his search for new and little known species. Different carnivorous characters will be introduced through Baker’s journeys – the little pouched creatures with fearful profiles, ‘Nosferatu’ claws and teeth that live in the habitats he explores.

And from where did all of these strange creatures originate? During Baker’s journey we will see ghosts from the past; formidable marsupial carnivores reconstructed from fossil evidence; like the marsupial lion that lived in dens and jumped from trees to attack its prey!

But time is short, carnivorous marsupials are in danger. Habitat loss and feral animals have decimated entire populations. Some animals may become extinct before we even know they exist.

Meet the least known marsupials in the world. You’ll never look at a kangaroo quite the same way again.