Eastern Barred Bandicoot (Perameles gunnii)

Endagered Species Classification

Extinct in the Wild
Critically Endangered
Conservation Dependent

Once common across south-eastern Australia, the Eastern Barred Bandicoot has now virtually disappeared from the wild on the mainland, only existing in reasonable numbers in Tasmania.

The main threats are destruction of habitat (the Eastern Barred Bandicoot is a grassland animal, and destruction of around 98% of grassland habitat has seen a corresponding decline in the species), and predation by introduced animals such as foxes, dogs and cats.

Mainland bandicoots have been brought back from the brink of extinction by an intensive captive breeding and re-introduction program. There are now around 2,000 individuals in a handful of sites heavily managed to exclude predators. FAME helped establish a population of Eastern Barred Bandicoot at Mt Rothwell Sanctuary.  It is thought that recovery for these bandicoots on the mainland will only be possible within protected areas of natural habitat.

Appearance: The Eastern Barred Bandicoot is a rabbit sized marsupial with a long pointed nose, yellowish brown fur and four pale bars across the hindquarters. It has long clawed forefeet that is used to dig for food.

Size: Body length of about 300mm, a tail about 110mm long. Weighs on average about 800g.

Diet: The Eastern Barred Bandicoot mainly eats soil invertebrates such as earthworms, beetles, field crickets and caterpillars and some plant material, including bulbs and fruit. They do not need to drink  as they can obtain sufficient water from its food.

Habitat: On mainland Australia the original native habitat was primarily native perennial tussock grasslands with scattered open woodlands and shrub cover, particularly along watercourses. In recent years the Eastern Barred Bandicoot has survived in highly modified habitats such as tree plantations, farmland, gardens, parklands, a rubbish tip and a cemetery, areas often dominated by weed species such as European gorse and spiny rush. The key feature of these sites seems to have been areas of dense cover adjacent to suitable feeding habitat.

Click here to download a factsheet about the Eastern Barred Bandicoot (Perameles gunnii)

Last updated May 2015