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Rat Opossums (Shrew Opossums)

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Order Paucituberculata

This small order of marsupials contains five species collectively known as rat opossums. Rat opossums are shrew-like in appearance, and contain many oddities in the marsupial world. For example, the females lack a pouch, sharing this feature with one other marsupial: the numbat. Another oddity is found in the males, as their sperm is paired. This feature is also found in some of the didelphids. No Australian marsupial shares this trait.

Rat opossums are gray-brown in colour, with small eyes and a non-prehensile tail. They feed primarily on insects.

Rat opossums are found in the forests of the Andes and along the southern coast of Chile in western South America. There were once several families in this order, but most of them are now extinct. An example is family Argyrolagidae. Today, there are 5 living species in 1 family:

Caenolestidae (rat opossums) 5 spp