TimbÃº - Brazilian marsupial
This animal plays a fundamental role in the Ecosystem.
Didelphis albiventris, known by us as Timbu, also has other names according to the region.
It was the first animal of the New World, known in Europe, "according to the annals of the History of America through Vicente Yáñez Pinzón, by the year 1500".
Because it belongs to the order of the Marsupials, it has as a characteristic in females the presence of a ventral opening, in the form of a pouch, with two rows of breasts inside, where the small immature little horns are directed through the mother's coat. and up to one centimeter long. These little ones stay inside the marsupi for about 4 months, feeding and growing until the marsupi can no longer contain them; After this, the mother starts to carry them charmingly on her back.
Family members: Didelphidae, has opposing fingers like our thumbs, these are well separated from the other fingers, so they can easily handle their food.
The adult thymus arrives at measure about 45 to 50 centimeters in length. They have a very showy coat, gray, and composed by the large black hairs and the white ones beneath them. The younger ones have a darker color and the older ones are whiter. The tail measures about 37 cm, is thick and tapered, devoid of hairs, is prehensile and aids in the movement in trees.
They have a thick and strong neck. The head is large, composed of three black stripes, one in each eye and the other central, giving a mask-like appearance, the muzzle is elongated and pink. Their ears are covered with white hairs, with their dark bases.
These animals are nocturnal, and eat almost everything: roots, fruits, insects, eggs, mollusks, crabs, geckos, and they also feed on snakes, being timbu resistant to their poison. Their menu is so broad and varied, they do not have a negative impact on the ecosystem, on the contrary, they help to control the number of snakes and insects. The timbu is not an aggressive animal, but it is not docile either. Shy by nature, slow movements, which is why they are so vulnerable. Before any threat they will always choose to flee or pretend to be dead, the most threatening act they can do is show their teeth and growl. They are famous for the stench that is produced by the axillary glands being used as a defense and in the time of heat to attract partners. They have few natural enemies, among them the wildcat (Leopardus spp.) And us humans.
They can transmit diseases such as: rabies, leptospirosis, different verminoses, etc. A good measure of hygiene is to wash balconies with bleach, and to seal the space between the wall and the roof of houses, to prevent timbus, rats or bats from building their nests between the ceiling lining and the roof. of these marsupials in your house, remember that they are not intruders, they are simply looking for food and have always done so. Unfortunately, its natural habitat is being reduced due to the increase in the number of houses, condos and other buildings.
Progress is inevitable, but it is our duty to have compassion and respect for the natural inhabitants of the region, where each of them plays an important role in conservation of the delicate balance of the ecosystem, and where all suffer the consequences when this balance is lost.
Instead of arriving as relentless conquerors, we must behave with more compassion for life and respect for our environment.
By Cecilia Tito, Veterinary.
Text originally published in Bora Magazine - Issue 11 - Apr / May 2015