Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Creature Feature #42: Barred Bandicoot

This tiny marsupial once made her home in Tasmania and Victoria. Alas, thanks to the fox and land development, she is now all but extinct in the wild, with the Victorain subspecies now only remaining in captivity. The Tasmanian subspecies is still clinging on - mostly because the fox never made it across the strait.

Her habitat is dry grasslands, and her main diet is earthworms and other invertebrates, which she hunts at night, using her long snout to dig in the soil and locate the tasty beasties. During the day she sleeps in a grass-lined burrow. She is not gregarious and favours a solitary existence, only meeting with males when she is ready to breed.

Like all marsupials, the Bandicoot gives birth to a tiny infant - or in her case, a litter of up to 5, after a 12 day pregnancy - that spend the first month or so of life inside her pouch and are weaned after only 55 days, becoming independent at around 86. With a lifespan of only 2-3 years, they need to be prolifict breeders and indeed, if conditions are ideal, they can raise 5 litters a year.

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