Greater Bilby

ClassificationBilby Closeup

Macrotis lagotis

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Peramelemorphia

Family: Thylacomyidae

Genus: Macrotis

Species: Lagotis

Anatomy exploring nature.jpgAnatomy

Anatomy

 

Behavior

Bilbies are nocturnal animals that do not like the heat, so they create their own burrow for shelter. Burrows are usually  6 feet deep and 10 feet long, or 2 meters deep and 3 meters long. They will usually live alone, however sometimes as many as four bilbies will share a burrow.Burrow Shelter.jpg

Size

Bilbies weigh about 5 ½ pounds, or 2 ½ kilograms and are about 1 to 2 feet long, or 29 to 55 centimeters.

Diet

They are omnivores, eating various insects, fungi, fruits, small mammals, bulbs, eggs, and lizards.

Habitats

Bilbies live mainlanScotia Wildlife Sanctuaryd in the deserts and grasslands of Australia.

 

Predators and Survival

Predators of greater bilbies include foxes, dingoes, wild cats, owls, eagles, and humans. The bilby can be difficult to snatch from its burrow, so the predator usually cannot reach in far enough to attack. Bilbies do not have good eyesight, however they do have a great sense of smell and hearing which helps them find prey and run from predators.

Life Span

They tend to live up to 7 years in the wild and begin to breed at 6 months of age.

BreedingBilby drawing

Bilbies will breed once a year in the wild between March and May. Gestation lasts 2 weeks. The two joey’s born will continue maturing and receive nourishment from the mother’s pouch.  After a few months, the bilby is independent from the mother.

Species Survival Status

The Greater Bilby is listed as endangered, according to Australian Museum and Optus Net.

Fast Fun Facts

  • The greater bilby is sometimes referred to as the Australian Easter bunny.
  • There used to be another kind of bilby, but it became extinct in the 1950’s. The extinct species was called the Lesser bilby.
  • Greater Bilbies are the largest member of the marsupial family of bandicoots.
  • The original people who lived in Australia were called Aboriginals. The name “bilby” translates from the Aboriginal word meaning the “long-nosed rat”.
  • Bilbies do not usually drink water, because they get their moisture from their food.

Easter Bilby.jpg

To learn more about the bilby, click here

Sources

Australian Museum: Greater Bilby

Optus Net: Bilby Fact Sheet

Reptile Park: Greater Bilby

Queensland-Koalas: About the Bilby

Australian Native: Bilby Facts

Australian Wildlife: Bilbies Will Celebrate Easter

Exploring Nature

Enchanted Learning

Wildlife Sydney

ABC: Nature’s Miracle Babies

EHP Queensland Goverment: Greater Bilby

 

Click here for more on the Easter Bilby

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