Last week, my class went on an excursion to the Cranbourne Botanic Gardens, where I saw a little animal that looked like a large brown rat. Our guide told us that it was a bandicoot, in fact, it was a southern brown bandicoot.
Here are five interesting facts about them:
- These cute little marsupials grow about 30 cm long plus a tail of about 12 cm. Males are slightly larger than females.
- They have very powerful claws that they use to dig for food. They eat worms, insects, larvae, fungi and plants. You can often tell if there are bandicoots around as they leave conical holes in the ground.
- Southern brown bandicoots have a backwards facing pouch so that they don’t get filled up by dirt when they dig.
- Their breeding period is any time after heavy rains. They can breed from a very young age and are able to have babies from about 3-4 months of age. Their gestation period is the shortest of all mammals and is only about 11 days long. They give birth to 2-4 babies at a time. The babies grow up in the mother’s pouch until becoming independent from the age of about 2 months old which is very young for a mammal.
- Southern brown bandicoots are found in forests with soft soil throughout southern Australia and in far north Queensland. They are not considered endangered, but their numbers have dropped due to habitat destruction and the introduction of feral foxes and cats.
I hope that you found these facts interesting and learned something new.
Are there any other interesting facts that you would like to share about southern brown bandicoots?