Marsupial Biology and Management

Course CodeBEN303
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

The behaviour of marsupials are as varied as the range of species. Despite their smaller brain size some marsupial´s exhibit complex social behaviours in one case comparable to those of primates. In contrast to many placental mammals, the majority of marsupials are nocturnal in arid zone species to avoid heat and water loss. However, the role of nocturnal behaviours in the forested areas is less certain. Marsupials have lower and more varied active body temperatures than placental mammals along with greater metabolic efficiency. Some dry land marsupials behaviourally thermoregulate, and some go into torpor in both daily and seasonal regimes. Understanding the effect of daily and seasonal climate on the thermoregulation and metabolism of marsupials is increasingly important to model and ameliorate the effects of global heating on their environment.

Lesson Structure

  1. Introduction
  2. Anatomy and Physiology
  3. Internal anatomy, physiology, and senses
  4. Behaviour
  5. Health & Disease
  6. Marsupial Carnivores
  7. The Diprotodontia -Kangaroos
  8. Other Diprotodontia
  9. Peramelemorphia
  10. Other Marsupials
  11. Marsupial Conservation and Management


  • Explain the likely origin of marsupials.
  • Explain classification of marsupials.
  • Identify common external anatomical features in marsupials.
  • Explain common and diverging characteristics in the internal biology of marsupials.
  • Discuss and compare behavioural characteristics in a number of different marsupials.
  • Describe health issues that affect marsupials.
  • Identify and describe the biology, behaviour and care of marsupial carnivores.

What You Will Do

  • Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

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