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Bandicoots and Bilbies: Peramelidae

Bandicoots, Bilbies, And People

Australian aboriginal (native) people considered the bandicoot one of the creators of life. According to their legends, Karora, a giant bandicoot, awoke from under the earth and gave birth to humans out of his armpit. Aborginal people also hunted bandicoots for food.

European colonists thought bandicoots looked like rats and tended to treat them as pests. Many were killed when colonists tried to rid Australia of rabbits that were introduced and soon overran the country, because they had no natural predators. Legal protection of bandicoots did not occur until the middle of the twentieth century, after several species were already extinct. Today conservation groups are trying to save bandicoots and bilbies, but many suburban residents still consider them pests, because they dig up gardens when hunting for food. They also carry ticks, lice, and fleas.


Starting in the 1990s, the Foundation for Rabbit-Free Australia and the Save the Bilby Fund began a public relations campaign to replace the Easter rabbit with the Easter bilby. The fund teamed up with candy makers to make chocolate bilbies for children's Easter baskets. Part of the sales price of each candy bilby went to bilby conservation and restoration programs. By 2004, several hundred thousand dollars had been raised through candy bilby sales.

Additional topics

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