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Western Barred Bandicoot (Perameles bougainville)

Western Barred 
Bandicoot

The Western Barred Bandicoot


Western barred bandicoots can only be found today on the islands of Barrow and Dorre. The species once lived on the mainland of Australia but lost its habitat to livestock and was killed off by predators (foxes and cats). The last record of the western barred bandicoot on the Australian mainland was in 1922. Western barred bandicoots are an endangered species with a declining population. There are currently efforts being made to reintroduce the western barred bandicoot to the mainland through captive breeding.

The western barred bandicoot will out a space under a low shrub and build a nest of grass. This species generally prefers to be alone and will show aggression toward other western barred bandicoots; however there are records of two western barred bandicoots in the same nest. There is one entrance/exit that is carefully hidden to protect detection by predators. There have been frequent records of nests being quite close to one another, sometimes under the same shrub.

The average weight of the western barred bandicoot is about 240g. Total body and tail measurements average about 280mm, the tail accounts for almost 1/3 of the total measurement. Western barred bandicoots are quite small animals. There is a pointed nose and large ears that point upwards. Fur is brown on the back of the body and fades into an almost white shade. The feet are the same color as the underbelly. Creamy bars are present across the rump; there is also darker fur present on the face.

Western barred bandicoots are nocturnal and dig for foods such as insects-especially beetles and crickets. Some small vertebrates are included in the diet of this species, as well as a variety of vegetation

Mating usually occurs as early as autumn and winter with births occurring in as late as September. Litters usually occur with two young, although there have been reports of three young occurring in one littler. The pouch on the western barred bandicoot opens backwards; which protects it from catching dirt when a nest is dug.

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Bibliography

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

Watching Wildlife: Australia, Bennett, J. 200.

Animal Info-Western Barred Bandicoot, Massicot, P., 8/8/04, www.animalinfo.org/species/peraboug.htm.

Western Barred Bandicoot, Western Wildlife, 8/8/04, http://www.westernwildlife.com.au/western/mammals/peramele.htm.

Western Barred Bandicoot, Perameles bougainville, South Australian Museum, 8/8/04, www.samuseum.sa.gov.au/extinctions/wbbandi.htm.


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