What's the funniest animal name you've ever heard? Rhinoceros? Hippopotamus? Lemur? Those are all funny, but we think there's an animal with an even funnier name. What are we talking about? The bandicoot, of course!
Bandicoots might look like small- to medium-sized rodents, but they're actually marsupials. They're not nearly as big as other marsupials, such as kangaroos, though. Bandicoots generally grow to be between 6 and 22 inches in length.
They live throughout Australia, especially the coastal areas of the Australian state of New South Wales. They can adapt to live in several different types of habitats, including rainforests, woodlands and prairies. They usually build nests in shallow holes and line them with leaves.
There are about 20 different species of bandicoots. The three most common in Australia are the long-nosed bandicoot, the southern brown bandicoot and the northern brown bandicoot.
Bandicoots have short fur that can be one of several different colors, including brown, yellow, black, orange or grey. They also have a couple of features that distinguish them from other marsupials. They have lots of sharp incisor teeth, and their second and third toes are grown together. When they move, they hop on their larger hind legs, like kangaroos.
Bandicoots tend to forage for food mainly at night. Bandicoots are omnivores. That means they eat both plants and animals. Common bandicoot foods include insects, earthworms and root vegetables.
Bandicoots don't have many natural predators, but there are a few, including owls and dingoes. Domestic cats and dogs, as well as foxes, are also beginning to threaten bandicoot populations.
Perhaps the biggest threats, though, come from urban development. As houses and roads continue to be built, bandicoots lose natural habitats they've lived in for years.
Bandicoots tend to be solitary animals. Unless it's mating season, they will often chase other bandicoots away. If they get into a fight, they'll mainly use their hind legs for defense and bite only if it's absolutely necessary.