EASTERN BARRED BANDICOOT – [Perameles gunnii]

EASTERN BARRED BANDICOOT

Physical characteristics: The eastern barred bandicoot, also called the barred bandicoot, the Tasmanian barred bandicoot, the striped bandicoot, or Gunn’s bandicoot, measures 10.5 to 14 inches (27 to 35 centimeters) not including the tail and weighs 26.5 to 35 ounces (0.75 to 1 kilogram). It has grayish brown fur with pale bars on its hindquarters. It has large ears, a thin, pointed snout, and its tail is relatively short.

Geographic range: Eastern barred bandicoots are found in the Australian state of Victoria and on the island of Tasmania. At one time it was also found in the state of South Australia, but it is now extinct there.

Habitat: This species lives in grasslands, open grassy woodlands, and suburban yards and parks.

Diet: Eastern barred bandicoots eat mainly insects, insect larvae, earthworms, bulbs, seeds, and fallen fruit.

Behavior and reproduction: Eastern barred bandicoots have the shortest pregnancy of any mammal—around twelve days. The young, usually only two or three, are carried in the mother’s pouch another fifty-five days and become completely independent about three weeks later. This species becomes fully mature and capable of reproducing at about four months of age and has a lifespan of two to three years.

Eastern barred bandicoots and people: Aboriginal peoples hunted the eastern barred bandicoot for food. Suburban residents find it a pest because it digs up lawns when hunting for food.

Conservation status: As of 2003, the eastern barred bandicoot was considered Vulnerable to extinction. At one point it was considered Critically Endangered. In 1991, only 109 animals were known to exist on mainland Australia. Serious conservation efforts are underway in Victoria. These include habitat protection, predator control, community education, captive breeding, and reintroduction of captive-bred bandicoots to the wild. By 1993, the population had grown to over seven hundred animals.The main threats to this species are predators such as the red fox and cats, and being hit and killed by automobiles.