Species profile

Northern Brown Bandicoot

Northern Brown Bandicoot

Range and abundance

The Northern Brown Bandicoot is common on the east coast of Australia north from the Hawkesbury River up to the tip of Cape York. Its distribution extends west in the higher rainfall zones into Western Australia. It has declined in pastoral areas since European settlement and is rarely found in highly urbanised, farmed or grazed land.

Description

Northern Brown Bandicoots are ground dwelling marsupials that have rather long pointed heads and compact bodies. They are the largest of Australia’s Bandicoots and have a head-body length of 30 – 37 cm, tails of 9 – 21 cm, and weigh 0.5 – 3.1 kg. Males tend to be slightly larger than females. Their upper body is speckled brown-black and they are whitish below.  

Ecology

Northern Brown Bandicoots are largely nocturnal and solitary. They spend their days hidden in nests within the ground litter. They emerge at night and scamper across their home range in search of food which they obtain on the surface of the soil or by digging small conical holes. Their omnivorous diet consists of invertebrates including insects and earthworms, fruits and other plant materials. Breeding times vary across their large range. The gestation period of their litter of one to seven young is 12.5 days. They leave the pouch permanently at around 55 days.

Threats

The Northern Brown Bandicoot is likely impacted by varying suite of threats within different parts of its extensive range. These threats include development and clearing of its habitat, predation by feral cats, as well as domestic cats and dogs, intensive livestock grazing and altered fire regimes.  


What is AWC doing?

AWC protects the Northern Brown Bandicoot at its sanctuaries by implementing fire management (prescribed burning), controlling or eradicating feral herbivores and attempting to decrease the activity of feral cats. These activities conserve areas of dense low ground cover, which the bandicoot requires, and decrease predation pressure.

Did you know:

Northern Brown Bandicoots have the ability to breed rapidly and produce several litters during a breeding season. Females can mate and become pregnant while still carrying young within their pouches. The new litter is born soon after the last litter has been weaned.