The Bandicoot is a territorial
animal and can be aggressive, although I must admit I have only ever
encountered placid bandicoots. Any aggression is generally directed
at rivals as they cross each other's territory. They breed all year
round, the female becoming sexually mature at 4-5 months of age, and
can from then on produce a litter every 7-8 weeks. Normally only 2-3
litters are reared annually.
The nest is above ground in
a shallow hole lined with grass and leaves, which is scraped together
with it's forelegs. The upper surface of the nest is partly covered
by soil and well concealed with debris. When the nest is occupied
the entrance is well hidden. They may also use hollow logs on the
ground. It is interesting just how many of our native animals make
use of hollow logs for shelter and nesting, considering how long it
can take for a tree to develop hollows, let us make sure we leave
the old trees alone so the species that need these hollows can continue
Gestation is 12 1/2 days,
the shortest gestation period of any marsupial. 2-7 young are born
weighing 2.5 gram and 13 mm. long, the tiny bandicoots make their way
to the pouch whilst still attached to he umbilical cord untill such
time as they are securely attached to one of 8 teats. Normally only
3-4 young are raised, this is due to the fact that mum may breed again
as soon as the young leave the pouch, the teats that the young used
are now too large for the newly born to attach to, thus 2 successive
litters will use alternate teats.
The young stay in the pouch
for 60 days, and become independent at about 4 months of age. The
pouch is backward opening; just as well as the little ones would otherwise
be covered in dirt when mum digs for food, it also makes that first
journey to the pouch a bit shorter just after birth.
There are 2 species of bandicoots
in WIRES Northern Rivers area, the Northern Brown and the Long Nosed
The Long Nosed is smaller
than the Northern Brown, and like its name suggests it has a very
long nose. The hind limbs of both species resemble that of macropod's,
the thigh is powerful, foot elongate and the second and third toe
is joined. The hind limbs can be used for leaping, but the usual fast
movement is like a gallop.
Bandicoots dig cone shaped
holes in the ground looking for worms, insects and roots. I have heard
many complain about the holes dug in the garden by these interesting
creatures, but if you consider that they are at the same time getting
rid of many pests, maybe we should be thankful for their assistance.
They have a home range of 1-6 hectares, however, they tend to roam
over a comparatively small range, often staying within half a hectare
of their nests and can live for up to 3 years. Although some people
associate bandicoots with ticks, this may
be because humans tend to pick up ticks most easily in long grass
or thick scrub- which also happens to be the type of habitat favoured
Main predators are dogs, cats,
foxes, python snakes and the ferocious motor vehicle.
Should you see a dead bandicoot
on the side of the road, please stop and check (if it is safe to do
so) if it is a male or female, females may have live young in the
pouch, if this is the case please call WIRES or your nearest wildlife
care group as soon as possible for assistance.
Image is a juvenile Northern
Brown Bandicoot after a cat attack.