1 minute read

Bandicoots and Bilbies: Peramelemorphia

Conservation Status

Since the coming of European colonists in 1770, three species have gone extinct: the pig-footed bandicoot, the desert bandicoot, and the lesser bilby. The number of animals in four other species has dropped to dangerously low levels and they are considered Endangered, facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild, or Vulnerable, facing a high risk of extinction in the wild. So little is known about most of the species in the Peroryctidae family that their conservation status cannot be accurately evaluated.


Bandicoots reminded European settlers in Australia of rats. They had a very low opinion of the animal. Today in Australia the word "bandicoot" when applied to a person is considered a mild term of abuse and disrespect.

Since the 1980s captive breeding and conservation programs have succeeded in increasing the number of bilbies. The Australian Bilby Appreciation Society has developed public relations programs to increase awareness of the need to protect these animals. They have also raised money for a fenced preserve, because bilbies cannot thrive in the wild without predator control. Other species have been the focus of less conservation awareness and continue to decline.



Finney, Tim F. Mammals of New Guinea, 2nd ed. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995.

Menkhorst, Frank. A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia, 2nd ed. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Nowak, Ronald. M. Walker's Mammals of the World. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995.


Smyth, Chris. "Bilbies' Call of the Wild." Habitat Australia (October 1998): 13.

Web sites:

"Nature Conservation" Queensland Government Environmental Protection Agency/Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. http://www.epa.qld.gov.au/nature_conservation (accessed on May 14, 2004).

University of Michigan Museum of Zoology. "Order Peramelemorphia." Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Peramelemorphia.html (accessed on June 30, 2004).

Other sources:

Australian Bilby Appreciation Society. P. O. Box 2002, Rangview, Victoria 3132 Australia. E-mail: bilbies@optusnet.no.SPAM.com.au Web site: http://members.oze-mail.com.au/bilbies.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsBandicoots and Bilbies: Peramelemorphia - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Bandicoots, Bilbies, And People, Conservation Status - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT