Bandicoot, Long-nosed (Perameles nasuta)

Class: Mammalia
Order: Marsupialia
Family:    Peramelidae
Size:    8 to 25 inches in length (20 to 63.5 cm)
Weight: 2 to 10 pounds (0.9 to 4.5 kg)
Diet: Insects, seeds, fruit, plants, worms, larvae
Distribution: Australia
Young:  2 to 6, up to 7 times per year
Animal Predators:  Foxes, cats, dogs and snakes
IUCN Status: No special status
Terms: No special terms
Lifespan: 2 to 3 years

 

Facts/Trivia:

       A type of rat found in Sri Lanka and India is called a bandicoot, but it is not part of the marsupial family.

       There were once 17 species of bandicoots, but two of these are now extinct.

       All bandicoots have rear-opening pouches so that when they dig, no dirt is pushed into the pouch.

       Male bandicoots are larger and more aggressive than females.

Description

Long-nosed bandicoots are gray or brown in colour, with a lighter underbelly. With their long, hairless tail, they resemble rats, but have a longer snout. 

 

Habitat

Long-nosed bandicoots make their nests by digging shallow indentations in soil and then pulling grass over top. They prefer areas with plenty of ground cover, such as tall grass and low-lying bushes. Long-nosed bandicoots are extremely territorial animals and their territories do not overlap with other bandicoots. Because of human settlement, the natural environment of the bandicoot has been greatly reduced, but some are making their way into peopleís yards for a treat of nuts or seeds. Different types of bandicoots can be found in Australia, Tasmania, New Guinea, Indonesia and on several nearby islands. 

 

Feeding Habits

Most bandicoots eat a variety of things, from insects to seeds, fruit, plants and worms. Their sharp claws enable them to dig under the soil for food. 

 

Reproduction

Long-nosed female bandicoots have a short gestation period of as little as twelve days and can have a new litter every seven weeks. When they are born, the young are blind, furless and only the size of a jellybean. The first few weeks of their lives are spent in their motherís pouch, where they nurse and continue to grow. There are only eight nipples and usually, a litter is no more than six. Within six weeks, they have grown fur and their eyes have opened. At this time, they begin to get curious about the outside world and will take short peeks through the pouch opening. Between seven and eight weeks, they leave the safety of the pouch, but will remain close to their mother for a week or two longer.

 

Behaviour

Bandicoots are nocturnal animals and spend their days sleeping in nests. They are solitary animals who are only seen together during mating season. Being marsupials, they are related to kangaroos and will sometimes stand on their strong hind legs or even hop. 

 

Conservation

Before animals such as cats, dogs and foxes were introduced to Australia, bandicoots had few predators and were common. However, with the arrival of the Europeans and the animals that came with them, bandicoot numbers shrunk rapidly and several species are now endangered or threatened. There has been some movement to set up protected areas not only for bandicoots, but also for Australiaís other endangered species. Confusingly, one endangered bandicoot is also called a Long-nosed bandicoot, but its Latin name is Perameles bougainville, and its other common names are Western-barred bandicoot, Marl and Bandicoot de bougainville.

 

Sources

http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/perameles/p._nasuta$narrative.html

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/coloring/Australia.shtml

http://home.mira.net/~areadman/bandi.htm

http://www.biologyofnature.com/article1023.html

http://www.aussie-info.com

http://www.npws.nsw.gov.au/wildlife/factsheets

http://www.wildlife-australia.com/lbandicoot.htm

Long-nosed Bandicoot Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US