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Eastern Barred Bandicoot

23 May 2011 No Comment

Perameles-gunni - Eastern Barred BandicootOne of the delights of visiting Tasmania is spotting Australian native wildlife. Interesting creatures are everywhere with many opportunites to take great photographs.

Sadly, one of Tasmania’s most adorable creatures needs your help!

The Eastern Barred Bandicoot is doing its best to keep up the fight, but it could really use a helping hand.

The female’s have three to four litters a year, with one to four young each time – that’s about 16 babies a year. Eastern Barred Bandicoots prefer to eat soil dwelling invertebrates. Using their highly developed sense of smell, strong claws and pointed nose, the bandicoot digs small, conical holes to get to their food. Bandicoots feed on root-eating grubs, beetles, earthworms, berries and fungi.

Unfortunately, rabbits can have between 11 and 25 young a year. As rabbits and bandicoots have similar habitat preferences, that’s a lot of competition for the little bandicoot.

Add to the mix cats, dogs and land clearing and you get the idea that the Eastern Barred Bandicoot really has a difficult job ahead of it.

So how can you help?

Parks and Wildlife Services, Tasmania suggests that keeping cats and dogs in or prevented from roaming at night, will greatly increase the Eastern Barred Bandicoot chances of repopulating the state.

The bandicoot is only a small animal, weighing in at 640grams and prefers to forage under cover of darkness. This makes them an easy target for cats, while roaming dogs flush out the nesting bandicoots during the day.

If you happened across a bandicoot during a night time walk, you’d notice a distinctive slender, elongated head that tapers off to a pink nose. Although the fur is a greyish brown, the hindquarters have the pale ‘bars’ or stripes that gives the marsupial its name. The belly, feet and tail are a creamy white.

So, when you’re out and about in the Tasmanian Wilderness, keep a close watch on the scrubby bushes and thick undergrowth, because that’s where you’re likely to find a real Aussie battler!

Image:  Noodle snacks (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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