Physical characteristics

The monito del monte is small (head and body less than 5 in [13 cm] long) and superficially mouse-like, with a pointed


Monito del monte (Dromiciops gliroides). (Illustration by Michelle Meneghini)

face, small rounded ears, and large eyes. Its furry tail is prehensile, up to 5 in (16 cm) long and sometimes very thick, especially around the base where fat accumulates prior to hibernation. There is a patch of naked skin on the underside of the tail tip, which helps improves traction when the tail is used to grasp branches. The paws are similar to those of opossums, each having opposable toes adapted for gripping. The face is short and pointed, with very large eyes ringed with dark fur. The ears are oval and erect. The body is covered in soft brownish gray fur, which fades to buff-white on the belly and sometimes shows a pattern of swirls on the shoulders and back.

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