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Golden Bandicoot (Isoodon auratus)

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The Golden Bandicoot (Photo: Pavel German)

The golden bandicoot was taken off the list of endangered species and is currently classified as “vulnerable”. The largest population of golden bandicoots is located on Barrow Island primarily because there are no cats or foxes that prey on the species. There are very small populations in the Northern Territory and Western Australia. Birds are the primary threat to this species. Golden bandicoots also have to compete with rabbits for food.

A golden bandicoot will nest in the hollow of a tree or on the ground; the nest is made of various plant materials. The preferred climate of this species appears to be similar to that of a rainforest. When the temperature rises the golden bandicoot will leave its nest and burrow in some sandy soil in an attempt to keep cool.

The golden bandicoot averages about 350mm from head to tail making it the smallest of the short nosed bandicoots. The back of a golden bandicoot is covered in golden fur (with some black streaks) that fades into a light rust color on the sides/face which then fades into a pale amber on the underbelly. The feet are the same color as the underbelly and have sharp claws. There are black eyes on the face as well as a long, flat, pointed nose.

Golden bandicoots are omnivores and enjoy eating succulents (where they get a significant amount of water), insects, plant bulbs, and reptiles (small). Food is found when the animal digs small conical holes in the ground at night, as it is nocturnal. A delicacy for the golden bandicoot would be turtle eggs it digs up when turtles are nesting.

Breeding generally occurs throughout the year and increases when there is plenty of rainfall. Gestation for the pregnant golden bandicoot lasts about 2 weeks. Litters on average produce 3 young that will remain in the mother’s pouch for up to 8 weeks if necessary.

Interestingly, the species was referred to as “old people’s food” by the aborigines because golden bandicoots are quite slow.

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A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia, Menkhorst, P. and Knight F. ©2001.

Animal Info-Golden Bandicoot, Massicot, P., 8/8/04, http://www.animalinfo.org/species/isooaura.htm.

What the Stock Journal says about Extinctions SA, South Australian Museum, 8/9/04, http://www.samuseum.sa.gov.au/extinctions/stockjnl.htm.

Endangered Species, Nagel, R. ©1999.

Golden bandicoot, Isoodon auratus, South Australian Museum, 8/9/04, http://www.samuseum.sa.gov.au/extinctions/gbandi.htm.

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