Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Greater Bilby

The greater bilby (Macrotis lagotis) is an nocturnal omnivorous mammals found in Australia.  They are rated as 'Vulnerable' by IUCN.  Their range and population are decreasing every year.

Physical Features
Greater bilbies are about 29 to 55 cm (11 inches to 22 inches) in length.  Males weigh about 1.5 kilograms to 2.7 kilograms.  Females weigh 700 grams to 1 kilogram.  There are specimens of males that weigh about 4 kilograms.  Bilbies look like bandicoots.  There are few differences between bilbies and bandicoots.  Bilbies have a longer tail, bigger ears and silkier fur.  Bilbies have an excellent sense of hearing due to their big ears and even have sharp hearing.  Their skin is bluish grey with white or tan patches.  They have strong forelimbs and thick claws which helps them in digging burrows.  Bilbies have one of the shortest gestation period of any mammal.  Their gestation period is 12 to 14 days.

Burrows made by a Greater Bilby
Greater bilbies were once widespread in arid and semi arid regions.  Now they are restricted to arid wastelands.  They dig spiral burrows which keeps them cool in the deserts.  This prevents predators from eating them.  Bilbies prefer this habitat as spinifex and shrubs grow there, making it easy to get food.


Bilbies are omnivores.  They will eat insects, bulbs, larvae, seeds, fruits and fungi.  They do not need much water as they obtain moisture from the food.  They catch insects using their long tongues as insects will be found in small burrows.

Conservation Status
Greater bilbies are becoming endangered.  They are becoming vulnerable to the domestic cats introduced to their habitat.  People even kill them for their fur.  The country has started reintroducing some population to different regions but it still remains vulnerable.

Greater bilbies are only found in Australia.  They are found in parts of Western Australia and Northern Territory.  A small part of Queensland is inhabited by these animals.

Source of pic 1 and pic 2