northern brown bandicoot Click to enlarge image
northern brown bandicoot Image: Daniela Parra
creative commons

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    macrourus
    Genus
    Isoodon
    Family
    Peramelidae
    Order
    Peramelemorphia
    Class
    Mammalia
    Phylum
    Chordata
  • Size Range
    Up to 47 cm

Long pointed snout, rounded ears and a short, bicoloured tail; brindled brown, black and tan above and cream underneath.

Identification

Long pointed snout, rounded ears and a short, bicoloured tail. The fur is brindled brown, black and tan on the dorsal side, and cream underneath and on the front feet. Similar in appearance to the much rarer Southern Brown Bandicoot but generally larger. Male Northern Brown Bandicoots are bigger than females weighing up to 3000 grams compared to 1500 grams.

Habitat

Wet tropical and subtropical forests, woodlands and shrublands with areas of low ground cover, as well as tall grasslands and disturbed areas such as suburban gardens.

Distribution

Found across much of northern and eastern Australia and southern and south eastern New Guinea.



Feeding and diet

The diet comprises insects, spiders, earthworms and other invertebrates, as well as tubers, underground fungi, seeds and fruits. Food is obtained either on the surface or by digging, which produces characteristic conical shaped holes. Individuals mark territories using scent and defend them against intruders.

Other behaviours and adaptations

The largest of Australia’s six bandicoot species, Northern Brown Bandicoots have fared moderately well since European settlement remaining common in many areas. They are solitary and largely nocturnal, sheltering during the day in nests made from ground litter constructed over shallow depressions or in tree trunks.

Breeding behaviours

The breeding period varies throughout the range with births occurring throughout the year in warmer areas. Females mature at 3-4 months and give birth to 1-7 young (average 2-4) after a gestation period of 12.5 days. Young remain in the pouch for around 55 days before leaving it permanently.