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Bilby
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Bilby

Bilbies

Greater bilby
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Subclass:Marsupialia
Order:Peramelemorphia
Family:Peramelidae
Genus:Macrotis
Species
M. lagotis
M. leucura (extinct)
Bilbies are marsupial omnivores; members of the bandicoot family. Before European colonisation of Australia there were two species. One became extinct in 1931, the other survives but remains endangered.

Bilbies have the characteristic long bandicoot muzzle and very long ears. As compared with other bandicoots, they have a longer tail, bigger ears, and softer, silky fur. They are nocturnal omnivores that do not need to drink water, as they get all the moisture they need from their food, which includes insects and their larvae, seeds, spiders, bulbs, fruit, fungi and very small animals. Most food is found by digging or scratching in the soil, and using their very long tongues.

They are excellent burrowers and build extensive tunnel systems with their strong forelimbs and well-developed claws. A bilby typically makes a number of burrows within its home range, up to about a dozen, and moves between them, using them for shelter both from predators and the heat of the day.

There have been reasonably successful moves to popularise the Bilby as a native alternative to the Easter Bunny by selling chocolate Easter Bilbies (sometimes with a portion of the profits going to Bilby protection and research).

See also: