Spectember 2021 – Marsupial Predators

It’s September, the Cambrian series has been delayed until later this year, so instead let’s get speculative – it’s time for the return of #Spectember! I can’t manage daily content this time around, but I still have plenty of submitted concepts left over from last time.

So let’s get started with some marsupials suggested by someone crediting themselves only as Bruno Drundridge:

A drawing of a speculative future descendant of the quoll. It's a long-legged running animal that resembles a cheetah-thylacine.
Cheetah Quoll (Tachydhigul pictus)

The cheetah quoll (Tachydhigul pictus) inhabits the Australian savanna several million years in the future. Descended from the tiger quoll, it stands about 50cm at the shoulder (~1’8″) and much like its feline namesake has become specialized for short bursts of rapid pursuit – although it’s not capable of reaching quite the same record high speeds as cheetahs, actually more comparable to a greyhound at top speeds of around 70km/h (~45mph).

Its main prey are small-to-medium-sized fast-hopping macropods and the descendants of invasive rabbits. It stalks its targets up to a close range and then relies on its speed and acceleration to close the gap, unable to keep up a chase for more than a few hundred meters.

Upon a successful kill it gorges itself on the soft parts of its prey as quickly as it can, because it often has to watch out for a larger and more physically powerful predator.

A drawing of a speculative descendant of the Tasmanian devil. It's a large chunky bear-like animal.
Devil-Bear (Pseudoursus drundridgei)

The devil-bear (Pseudoursus drundridgei) descends from a population of Tasmanian devils reintroduced to mainland Australia in the early 21st century. Close in size to to smaller examples of the placental bears it convergently resembles, it stands about 70cm at the shoulder (~2’4″) – making it one of the biggest marsupial carnivores to ever live, rivaling the ancient Thylacoleo.

Powerful hyena-like crushing teeth let it crunch through flesh and bone alike, and while it mainly preys on large wombats its size and bulk also allow it to easily bully smaller predators like the cheetah quoll away from their carcasses.

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