- Firstly, Bandicoot serves as the common name of a group of about 20 species. Further, all of these evolved as small to medium-sized marsupial omnivores.
- Also, all are endemic to single continent, although the varying species of this animal attain different sizes. However, they are all of comparable sizes with the common rabbit.
- Despite its small size, the animal can pose a rather severe health risk to both humans and other animals. This occurs due to its being a primary carrier of the disease known as Q fever.
- Finally, in populated areas, individuals boldly venture into backyards – just like the raccoons in North America.
Bandicoot Physical Description
Given the different species within the genus, the appearance of various Bandicoot species can be rather different. However, many basic traits remain the same throughout the genus.
Most notably, sexual dimorphism is present within each species. In most cases, the males can be nearly twice the size of the females. Mature adults range in length from 11 – 31 in (28 – 78.75 cm), and also weigh between 0.4 – 3.5 lb (0.18 – 1.6 kg).
Further, the snout grows quite long, and the back has a natural arch. The tail remains long and thin, and the back feet develop much larger than the front feet. In addition, its coloring is a random combination of white, brown, and gray.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Peramelemorphia
- Family: Peramelidae
- Genus: Perameles
Bandicoot Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Most notably, all known forms of the Bandicoot live throughout most of the continent of Australia. However, the creature is highly adaptable and various species reside in numerous types of habitats. These rainforests, dry woodlands, and areas of heath, and also appear especially common in coastal regions.
The mammal is primarily active at night. During the day, it will nest in shallow holes it has dug in the ground. These, it will line with leaves. Generally, these are concealed under dense vegetation or even debris – a method of hiding the location from predators. It also serves to provide partial protection from the weather.
The Bandicoot primarily forages for its food at night, avoiding the heat of the day. Being omnivorous, its diet is highly varied even though it still prefers foods like spiders, insects, and earthworms. Individuals also commonly consume plant roots, tubers, and fungus.
A typical lifespan averages 2-4 years in the wild. It lives as a solitary creature, usually gathering only to mate, and is capable of breeding several times per year, just like cats and dogs. In fact, the animal has the shortest gestation period of any known marsupial, at only 11 days.