Rabbit-eared Bandicoot

Victoria Aue

Names

Common Name: Greater Bilby, Bilby

Scientific Name: Macrotis Lagotis

Nickname: Rabbit-eared Bandicoot, Pinkie

Description

Category: Marsupial

Appearance: These bandicoots have long, rabbit-like ears, soft grayish blue fur, white/cream fur on their stomach, a long tail that continues the gray-blue fur and is pure white at the tip, and a long, pointed snout. The male bilbies tend to be almost twice the size of the females. (600g-1100g for females and 800g-2500g for males). Greater bilbies also have an amazing hearing sense due to their large ears which makes up for their poor eyesight. The greater bilby is also a nocturnal species so it is very hard to find them in the daylight.

Diet: Greater bilbies are primarily omnivores, they will eat things including mammals, insects, roots, seeds, grains, fruit, eggs, and reptiles. The greater bilby is so great that it doesn't have to drink water; it obtains water from the foods it eats because their habitat is mainly dry!

Breeding: Greater bilbies are polygamous and usually mate within their designated social class. Like many other mammals, the males will go after the females and "sniff them out", then the female will approve before breeding. Females may produce up to 4 litters per year if the conditions are suitable. Each litter usually contains 1-2 offspring. When the offspring are born, they crawl into the mother's pouch to begin the growing process. The females, like kangaroos, have pouches to hold their young for the first 75 days of their life. Females are sexually matured after about 5 months whereas males are sexually matured at about 8 months.

Habitat

Countries/Continents: The greater bilby resides mainly in the Great Sandy, Tanami, and Gibson deserts in northwest Australia and the southwest tip of Queensland.

Historic Range/ Current Range: Greater bilbies have stayed in Australia but their original roaming range has reduced from most of the continent to only a few areas in which there are semi-dry areas with loose soil such as the Great Sandy, Tamani, and Gibson deserts in Australia.

Living/Nesting Areas: The greater bilbies live in dry areas of the Australian deserts where there is still softer soil for them to burrow into. In fact, the greater bilby is the only bilby that burrows.

Are they migratory?: No, bilbies stay in the same environment because they are only adapted to the dry areas. They are not suited for other, possibly cooler, conditions as of right now.

Above or below ground? Do they hibernate?:
Greater bilbies live both above and below land because they use their burrows as shelters and go out of their burrows to scavenge for food. No, the bilbies do not hibernate mainly because they have to ability to reproduce multiple times a year.

Predators or inter-species relationships?: The predators of the greater bilby include feral and domesticated cats, dingoes, and foxes. They prey on many insects, fruit, fungi, and seeds. This would make the greater bilby a secondary consumer.
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Problems

The main reason as to why the greater bilbies are under the endangered species category is due to the high amount of predation on the species. Foxes and feral cats are notorious for eating the bilbies and have caused a significant decrease in the population of these cute marsupials. Their environment is suitable because they rely on the small insects, plants, and fungi that are native to the same locations.

Solutions

As of right now, conservation facilities are trying to take some of the bilbies to ensure they are not being threatened by their predators in the desert. Also, awareness campaigns are being raised, like the Easter Bilby rather than the Easter Bunny, to help raise money to save as many of these little guys as possible. Some candy companies that produce the Easter Bilbies are giving donations to the captivation facilities as well as the campaigns themselves.There is a national recovery plan in place currently to help the species out of endangerment which urges the need to survey the species to determine the exact amount of bilbies living in Australia.

Cites and image sources

Brown, Emily. "Macrotis Lagotis (greater Bilby)." Animal Diversity Web. University of Michigan, 13 Feb. 2011. Web. 10 Mar. 2015.

Friend, T., Morris, K. & van Weenen, J. 2008. Macrotis lagotis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 12 March 2015.


"Greater Bilby." (Department of Environment and Heritage Protection). Queensland Government, 22 Aug. 2012. Web. 12 Mar. 2015.


http://www.australianwildlife.org/media/67005/_SCA5870_skycloseacrscrScotia-WB-survey-April-2014.jpg


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Bilbies