Bandicoots

Bandicoots are small furry Australian animals.

They eat plants, seeds, insects, spiders and berries.

They hold food in their front paws to eat.

They live where there are low bushes.

Newborn babies move into the mother's pouch to grow.

There are about twenty kinds of bandicoot, including the Northern Brown, Long-nosed, Southern Brown, Eastern Barred and Western Barred bandicoots. The Western Barred bandicoot is now only found on a few islands in Shark Bay, Western Australia. The Eastern Barred bandicoot is now found only in Tasmania and in a few places in Victoria. The bilby is also called a rabbit-eared bandicoot.

Physical features
Bandicoots are mostly solitary animals, which means they are generally on their own. They are marsupials about the size of a cat. They have a pointy snout, humped back and a thin tail. A female bandicoot has a backward facing pouch. This is so that when she is digging, she doesn't fill her pouch with soil. 

Habitat
Bandicoots live on the ground in areas where there are low-growing plants. In some parts of Australia, they even visit people's gardens.

Diet
They search on the ground looking for insects,spiders, seeds, berries and other similar food. When looking for food they dig in the soil and rummage in the fallen leaves on the ground. They hold their food in their front paws to eat it.

Behaviours
Bandicoots are mostly active at night and in the day they generally shelter in nests that are piles of leaf litter scratched together. When moving fast they bound and gallop.

Life Cycle
Marsupials are not pregnant for very long, so that when the young are born, they are very tiny and hardly developed at all. They move into their mother's pouch to complete their development. Unusually for marsupials, bandicoots in the womb are attached to it by cords, and after they are born, the young climb the cords to reach the mother's pouch. The young of the Northern Brown bandicoot and the Long-nosed bandicoot are in the womb for only twelve and a half days, the shortest time of any marsupial. Inside the pouch, the young drink milk from teats, as they grow and develop.

Conservation status
Some desert species of bandicoot are extinct and the remaining species are vulnerable. If their habitats change, they will become endangered. They are also killed by introduced species such as foxes and feral cats.

 

More bandicoot information:

http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/animals/bandicoots.htm

Long-nosed Bandicoots: http://wildlife-australia.com/lbandicoot.htm

Southern Brown Bandicoot:
http://australianmuseum.net.au/Southern-Brown-Bandicoot

Eastern Barred Bandicoot (also videos): http://www.arkive.org/eastern-barred-bandicoot/perameles-gunnii/

Golden Bandicoot: http://www.australianfauna.com/goldenbandicoot.php

The Rabbit-eared Bandicoot: Bilby


If you use any part of this in your own work, acknowledge this source in your bibliography like this:
Sydenham, S. & Thomas, R. Bandicoot [Online] www.kidcyber.com.au (2003).

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Updated April 2014 ©www.kidcyber.com.au