The Long-nosed bandicoot is an odd-looking member of the marsupial family that is found in eastern Australia. It has a trunk-like snout, powerful back legs, and a backward opening pouch. They feed at nighttime, darting here and there quickly to avoid being detected by predators. These animals are probably best known for leaving small, round conical holes behind when they forage.
Long-nosed bandicoots are distributed along Australia’s eastern coast from Cape York Peninsula in Queensland to Victoria and New South Wales. These animals are found in a wide range of habitats including open, forest, scrub brush heath, swamp, and urban environments.
Habits and lifestyle
The Long-nosed bandicoot is a solitary animal which retreats to its grassy hollow during the day, coming out during the night to forage and eat on its own. It is rarely seen but can be heard snuffling while it hunts on the forest floor. Long-nosed bandicoots make their nests in shallow depressions in the ground within thick vegetation. These animals have excellent night vision and good hearing. Using their strong back legs, bandicoots run with quick bursts of speed and will quickly charge direction to outmaneuver predators.
Diet and nutrition
Long-nosed bandicoots are omnivores and eat small vertebrates, invertebrates, plant roots, and fungi.
Long-nosed bandicoots are polygynous, which means that one male mates with multiple females. Breeding occurs at any time of the year. Following gestation of just 12-13 days, one to five young are born. They are raised in their mother’s pouch, with weaning occurring at around 60 days of age. Care by the parents ends before the young reach maturity, being 3 months for females and 4-6 months for males.
Long-nosed bandicoots once were widespread throughout the region of Sydney, but many populations have become extinct. Major threats to these animals include habitat loss through urbanization and land clearance, introduced predators (cats, dogs and foxes) and being killed on the road by vehicles. The isolated population on North Head is particularly vulnerable to lack of genetic variation affecting its population viability, and random events like wildfire that could cause its extinction.
No estimate of population size is available for this species, but it's presumed to be large. According to the IUCN Red List, research indicates that the Long-nosed bandicoot is widely distributed. According to the Wikipedia resource, a population at North Head, Sydney is thought to number around 200 individuals. Currently Long-nosed bandicoots are classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List.
Long-nosed bandicoots are omnivorous but prefer insects, and the resulting large degree of soil disturbance as the animals dig for larvae and grubs has a significant effect on the soil ecosystem in eastern Australia.
Fun facts for kids
- Long-nosed bandicoots are among the few bandicoots that emit a high pitched noise.
- The Long-nosed bandicoot has the greatest rate of reproduction of marsupials.
- The Long-nosed bandicoot uses its paws to dig a hole and then reaches in to gather the hidden insects with its long nose.
- While searching for food, Long-nosed bandicoots make snuffling sounds, then when they catch their food they make loud piglet-like grunting noises.
- Long-nosed bandicoots attack with their teeth and claws to defend their territory
- The female of this species has her pouch at the rear in order to protect young from soil when she digs for food.
- When it has caught its prey, the Long-nosed bandicoot will knead it into a pulp before eating.