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Spiny Bandicoots: Peroryctidae

Physical Characteristics

Peroryctidae are spiny bandicoots. They look like a cross between a rabbit and a rat. In many ways they are similar to the bandicoots in the Peramelidae family. Spiny bandicoots range in size from about 6.5 to 22 inches (17.5 to 56 centimeters), not including the tail. They vary in weight from 14 ounces to 10 pounds (0.4 to 4.7 kilograms). The giant bandicoot of southeastern New Guinea is the largest species. The mouse bandicoot is the smallest.

Spiny bandicoots have rough, spiky fur that is usually blackish or brown on the back and white or tan on the belly. Most species are a solid color, but the striped bandicoot has darker stripes on its rump and around its eyes. Like the true bandicoots, spiny bandicoots have claws that are adapted to digging for food. Their front feet have five toes. The middle three toes have strong claws. Toes one and five are either small or absent. On the hind feet, the bones of the second and third toes are joined, but each toe has a separate claw. The hind legs are longer than the front legs and are strong and well developed for hopping and leaping. They are also able to move with a running gait.

Spiny bandicoots differ from true bandicoots mainly in the shape of their skulls, the habitats they prefer, and the roughness of their fur. Recent studies show that they also are genetically different from true bandicoots.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsSpiny Bandicoots: Peroryctidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Rufous Spiny Bandicoot (echymipera Rufescens): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, SPINY BANDICOOTS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS