Eastern Barred Bandicoot
Digs funnel-shaped holes in search of insects
Eastern Barred Bandicoot Scientific Classification
- Scientific Name
- Perameles gunnii
Eastern Barred Bandicoot Conservation Status
Eastern Barred Bandicoot Locations
Eastern Barred Bandicoot Facts
- Roots, berries, beetles, worms, grasshoppers
- Name Of Young
- Group Behavior
- Fun Fact
- Digs funnel-shaped holes in search of insects
- Estimated Population Size
- Biggest Threat
- Habitat loss
- Most Distinctive Feature
- Bars of black fur on its hindquarters
- Other Name(s)
- Pig rat
- Gestation Period
- 12 days
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“They can cover three feet of ground in a single leap”
Eastern barred bandicoots are omnivores with a diet of plants and insects. They have brown or gray fur with three or four vertical dark stripes on their hindquarters. On a distribution map, these mammals live in southeastern Australia and Tasmania. In the life cycle of an Eastern barred bandicoot, a juvenile is called a joey. The population of this small animal is decreasing.
5 Eastern Barred Bandicoot Facts
- A female bandicoot has a backward facing pouch, so dirt doesn’t get onto her young when she is digging
- This animal is in the same Order (Peramelemorphia) as its relative the bilby
- It’s an expert digger leaving behind funnel-shaped holes when searching for insects
- It can run, gallop, and jump at speeds of 15mph
- It comes out at night to look for the worms, beetles, and other insects in its diet
Eastern Barred Bandicoot Scientific Name
The Eastern barred bandicoot is known as Perameles gunnii. The Latin word Perameles means bag or pouch while gunnii relates to the island of Tasmania where many Eastern barred bandicoots live. These animals are sometimes called pigrats. This is because they have a body shape and small dark eyes similar to those of a rat. Also, when this animal is digging for insects, it makes a grunting sound that some say is similar to the grunts of a pig.
They are in the Peramelidae family and the class Mammalia.
A few of the subspecies are:
- Northern brown bandicoot
- Raffray’s bandicoot
- Rufous spiny bandicoot
Appearance & Behavior
This animal has grayish-brown fur with three or four bars of dark fur on its rump. Its belly and feet are cream-colored, and it has a short tail. This mammal has long ears similar in shape to a rabbit’s ears. Its nose is narrow and long.
Most types of bandicoots have a long nose, small dark eyes, and other similar features. But it’s the vertical bars on an Eastern barred species’ coat that differentiates it from other types of bandicoots.
Some of the most interesting facts about this animal concern its legs and feet. Its powerful back legs as well as the webbing between its second and third toes help it to jump a distance of three feet in one leap! Furthermore, it runs or gallops at speeds of up to 15mph. There’s another well-known marsupial with strong hind legs and webbing between its toes. That marsupial is the kangaroo!
This animal measures from seven to 12 inches long. Picture a wooden ruler you may use at school and you’re envisioning something equal in length to a 12-inch-long Eastern barred bandicoot. This animal can be up to four pounds in size. A four-pound Eastern barred bandicoot is equal in weight to four-fifths the total weight of a chihuahua dog.
The Northern brown bandicoot has the longest body of all the bandicoots at a length of 18 and a half inches.
The long, narrow snout of an Eastern barred bandicoot helps it to find beetles and other insects beneath the ground. Its sharp claws make this animal an efficient digger. This barred bandicoot has a backward-facing pouch as well. So, when a female is digging in the dirt it won’t fly up into her pouch onto her babies!
Its running or galloping speed of 15mph helps this small mammal to escape red foxes, dingoes, and other predators. Also, its dark fur allows it to blend into its grassland or forest habitat so it can camouflage to avoid predators.
These animals are solitary with a shy nature. They hide during the day and come out to look for food at night.
Eastern Barred Bandicoot Habitat
Look at a distribution map and you’ll find this bandicoot lives in Victoria located in the southeastern part of Australia. They also live in Tasmania. One of the most pertinent facts to keep in mind is the largest portion of this mammal’s population is found in Tasmania.
They live in a temperate to hot climate. These animals stay undercover for most of the daylight hours in order to remain cool, especially on extremely hot days.
These animals are found in dense areas of vegetation where they can take shelter. Normally, these patches of vegetation are located near open areas of land, so they have somewhere to forage for food at night.
An Eastern barred bandicoot makes its nest in a shallow depression in the ground. Its nest is usually lined with grass or other soft material. A bandicoot’s nest is very similar to the nest of a wild rabbit.
Predators and Threats
Eastern barred bandicoots are omnivores. They are nocturnal animals that search their habitat for food at night. They spend much of their time digging for prey that lives underground.
What does an Eastern barred bandicoot eat?
Specifically, this marsupial eats beetles, worms, grasshoppers as well as a diet of berries, seeds, and grass.
What eats Eastern barred bandicoots?
Red foxes are the main predator of these mammals. They may also be attacked by dingoes. Both of these predators are nocturnal like Eastern barred bandicoots.
The Eastern barred bandicoot has suffered loss of their habitat putting it in the category of Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Sheep and rabbits have eaten a lot of the vegetation in the Eastern barred bandicoot’s habitat leaving it with fewer places to build nests. Red foxes also greatly reduced the population of this marsupial.
Though its population is listed as decreasing, there are currently protected areas set aside for the Eastern barred bandicoot to help replenish its numbers.
Reproduction and Life Cycle
These bandicoots have multiple partners and have their young between the months of May and December. Females can sometimes have as many as three to four litters of babies in a single breeding season. Their gestation period is just 12 days. This is the shortest gestation period of all marsupials! A bilby’s gestation period is similar at 14 days. Eastern barred bandicoots give live birth to one to four babies per litter. Newborn bandicoots are hairless and less than one inch in length.
After moving from newborn to juvenile in its life cycle, an Eastern barred bandicoot is called a joey. Joeys live in their mother’s pouch for the first 5o days of life. They nurse from their mother inside her pouch and eventually begin to eat small insects and vegetation. After 55 days, the joeys emerge from their mother’s pouch to live in the nest and search for food with her for the next week or two. After that, they can live independently. As a note, bandicoots are solitary animals. They don’t share their nest with other bandicoots with the exception of the one to two weeks they allow their young to be there.
The average life span of this small marsupial is three years.
Eastern Barred Bandicoot Population
The Eastern barred bandicoot’s population is 10,000 to 100,000. It’s categorized as Vulnerable with decreasing numbers. But conservation actions are being taken in the form of establishing protected areas of land where these animals can reproduce and live without fear of predators. This is gradually helping to rebuild their population.View all 116 animals that start with E
Eastern Barred Bandicoot FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Are Eastern barred bandicoots carnivores, herbivores, or omnivores?
They are categorized as omnivores. But many biologists call them insectivores because their main diet is insects.
Where does the Eastern barred bandicoot live?
How many Eastern barred bandicoots are left in the world?
Their population is between 10,000 and 100,000 mature individuals.
Why is the Eastern barred bandicoot endangered?
This animal is actually categorized as Vulnerable now instead of Endangered. They are Vulnerable because of habitat loss as well as being preyed upon by red foxes.
Where are Eastern barred bandicoots found?
They live in areas of dense vegetation in forests and grasslands. They look for shallow depressions in the ground where they can make a nest.
How did Australia’s Eastern barred bandicoot come back from extinction?
Their population was replenished by a conservation plan put into action over the span of thirty years. Organizations including Zoos Victoria started a breeding program for these bandicoots back in 1989 when almost all of these animals were gone.
Since then, they have bred Eastern barred bandicoots and released them into protected areas of land where they can live and continue to reproduce in the wild. Their population is slowly recovering due to the conservation actions of concerned individuals in Australia.
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- , Available here: https://woodiwild.org/wildlife/eastern-barred-bandicoot/
- , Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bandicoot
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- , Available here: https://www.environment.vic.gov.au/conserving-threatened-species/threatened-species/eastern-barred-bandicoot
- , Available here: https://penguinfoundation.org.au/about-us/species/eastern-barred-bandicoot