Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Here Comes Peter Bilby

Last week there were a lot of these little guys around Australia. If you look closely at the picture you will see that this is not your typical Easter Bunny. Rabbits are not native here in Australia, and they have been very destructive to the natural habitat.  However, we do have the bilby.  Many local companies have chosen to use this nearly extinct animal as the new Easter Mascot.  
The bilby, which can weigh up to 2.5 km, is the largest member of the family of marsupials called bandicoots.  Its silk soft fur is blue-grey in color, and it has a black tail that dons a white tip. It has a long pink snout.  The diet of the bilby consists of seeds, spiders, insects, larvae, fruit and small animals.  It receives all of the water it needs from the food that it eats
The bilby and rabbit are similar in that they both have large ears and live in burrows.  However, the bilby's ears are very flexible and they can be rotated, placed flat against or perpendicular to the body, and even folded in half.  Also, the bilby is a truly nocturnal animal and it only comes out an hour after dusk and it returns to its underground home at least an hour before dawn. Its home being one of a dozen--2 meter deep-- burrows that it has built with its strong forelimbs and long claws
 Before the arrival of the Europeans in Australia the bilby could be found across 70% of the Australian continent.   Presently they are found in a small area in south-west Queensland and in isolated colonies spread across Western Australia and the Northern Territory.  Their extinction in the other mainland states has been attributed to loss of habitat, hunting, competition from introduced species, and predation from introduced species.


  1. Hi Maya, this was an interesting read. From the photo it sort of does look like a bunny. I'm learning about so many interesting australian wildlife/animals from your wonderful blog.

    Thanks so much for sharing. Have a great day.

  2. How cute. And much better than the easter bunny especially given the history of rabbits in Oz.

  3. Interesting animal.
    I sure do like all of your writings.

  4. Hi Kathy, thanks for the kind words. I am glad you are learning a lot through my blog. Since moving to Australia my learning curve has been very high.

    Hi Marta, the history of the rabbit in Oz is worthy of its own post. I hope to get around to it one of the days. I also hope to eventually get to see a Bilby in the wild.

    Elaine, I am glad you are enjoying the blog. It is an interesting animal. We may have seen one, inside the building. at Cleland Wildlife Park.