28 Oct Long-nosed Bandicoot Perameles nasuta
This month’s specimen is the Long-nosed Bandicoot, known scientifically as Perameles nasuta. The name translates from Greek and Latin as ‘long-nosed pouched badger’ – but of course, bandicoots are marsupials, raising their young in a pouch (incidentally, the common name ‘bandicoot’ comes from a large species of rodent that occurs in southeast Asia). This specimen is a juvenile, with adults growing to about the size of a small rabbit. Long-nosed bandicoots are omnivorous marsupials, feeding on insects, fleshy plant roots (tubers) and fungi – especially the underground fungi known as ‘truffles’. They are active from dusk to dawn, digging tell-tale cone-shaped holes in their search for food. These holes are dug with the front feet and are large enough for the bandicoot’s long, sensitive snout to reach in and detect its invertebrate prey. Because of their digging habits, bandicoots have a backward-opening pouch so that pouch young don’t get a face full of dirt. During the day, Long-nosed bandicoots can be found in a well-concealed nest that consists of a shallow depression in the ground, lined with grass and leaves. The nest is often partly covered with soil and other debris.
Long-nosed Bandicoots have a wide distribution in eastern Australia, from tropical north Queensland, throughout coastal New South Wales and into Victoria. They have been recorded in a wide range of habitats, including rainforest, wet and dry woodlands, and heathland, and have also been observed to forage in open urban land and farmland.