Western Barred Bandicoot (Perameles bougainville)

Endagered Species Classification

Extinct in the Wild
Critically Endangered
Conservation Dependent

Prior to European settlement it is likely that the Western Barred Bandicoot was widespread across Australia through the southern arid zone, from the Liverpool Plains in New South Wales to the north-west coast of Western Australia. Sadly they have been extinct on mainland Australia for at least 80 years, existing only in the Natures Reserve of Bernier and Dorre Islands in Shark Bay, Western Australia.

The reasons for the extinction of the Western Barred Bandicoot on the mainland are not entirely clear. Stock grazing, crop production and changed fire regimes have affected vegetation throughout its previous range. Also throughout much of this area various exotic animals have been introduced, including goats, rabbits, foxes, cats and pigs.

The Western Barred Bandicoot has been reintroduced to several feral free reserves on the mainland. Captive breeding is also underway. In 2009 FAME provided funding to assist in the translocation of 5 Western Barred Bandicoots from Faure Island to the Arid Recovery Reserve. The aim of this project was to increase the genetic diversity of the Arid Recovery Reserve population of Western Barred Bandicoots. Post-release monitoring found that all three females had produced young making the supplementary release of Western Barred Bandicoots to Arid Recovery Reserve a success. 

Appearance: The Western Barred Bandicoot is the smallest member of the bandicoot family. This long-nosed bandicoot has long, soft mottled greyish, yellow coloured fur with two or three pale fawn-coloured bars across the hindquarters. An adult weighs just 300 grams with a body length of 171-236 mm and tail length of 60-102 mm.

Behaviour: The Western Barred Bandicoot is nocturnal, nesting each day under low shrubs in a depression beneath dense litter.

Diet: They mainly eat insects but will also eat spiders, earthworms, berries, seeds, roots and small herbaceous plants. They are able to run very quickly, sometimes leaping into the air and changing direction to catch fast moving prey.

Did you know?
The Western Barred Bandicoot has a keen sense of smell and is able to detect food up to 30cm underground. They have strong hind legs which they use to dig below the ground for the food.

Click here to download a factsheet about the Western Barred Bandicoot (Perameles bougainville)

Last updated May 2015