Featherdale Wildlife Park - Sydney Australia

Sydney’s Hands-On Wildlife Experience

Bilby Shot

greater bilby

Macrotis lagotis

facts and figures

KINGDOM

Animalia

PHYLUM

Chordata

CLASS

Mammalia

ORDER

Peramelemorphia

FAMILY

Thylacomyidae

GENUS

Macrotis

SPECIES

lagotis

Conservation Status

Species status information sourced from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

Did you know?

  • Due to the large number of predators that threaten them, Greater Bilbies have long “rabbit” ears that remain slightly above ground when they are digging, allowing them to hear any potential dangers.

  • Greater Bilbies are listed as Extinct in New South Wales.

Description

Greater Bilbies are nocturnal marsupials, approximately 80-84 cm in length from snout to tail and weighing approximately 800g-2.5kg as adults. The fur is light grey and white, smooth and soft in texture, and the tail is black and white, with a spur-like projection at the tip. The ears are furless, and the snout is long and narrow. Their life span is 6-7 years in the wild and 11 years in captivity.


Habitat

Greater Bilbies are found only in Australia, in Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia. They live in grasslands and mulga scrubs in semi-arid to arid, hot and dry Australian areas, in burrows up to 2m deep. The depth keeps them cool and protects them from larger predators. They prefer habitats with soft sandy soil, limited or absent vegetation and exceptionally low average yearly rainfall.


Diet

Greater Bilbies have a long, pink snout, and their sense of smell is superb. They have a long, sticky tongue which aids in catching smaller, hard to catch prey. Greater Bilbies are omnivorous, feeding on bulbs, fruit, seeds, fungi, insects, worms, termites, spiders and small lizards. They do not require much water as they acquire it from their food.


Social organisation and Reproduction

Greater Bilbies are primarily a solitary species, coming together only during breeding season. Breeding season is usually March- May, however if conditions are favourable, they may breed slightly earlier or later in the year as well. Greater Bilby’s pouches opens backward so as not to be filled with dirt whilst digging their burrows. After a gestation period of 12-14 days, 2-3 joeys will be born and make their way to the pouch. The joeys will spend 70-80 days in the pouch developing and feeding on milk, before emerging and living in the burrow in a ‘crèche’ with other joeys. About 2 weeks after leaving the pouch, joeys are independent of their mother. Greater Bilbies can produce up to 4 litters in 1 year.

Description

Greater Bilbies are nocturnal marsupials, approximately 80-84 cm in length from snout to tail and weighing approximately 800g-2.5kg as adults. The fur is light grey and white, smooth and soft in texture, and the tail is black and white, with a spur-like projection at the tip. The ears are furless, and the snout is long and narrow. Their life span is 6-7 years in the wild and 11 years in captivity.


Habitat

Greater Bilbies are found only in Australia, in Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia. They live in grasslands and mulga scrubs in semi-arid to arid, hot and dry Australian areas, in burrows up to 2m deep. The depth keeps them cool and protects them from larger predators. They prefer habitats with soft sandy soil, limited or absent vegetation and exceptionally low average yearly rainfall.


Diet

Greater Bilbies have a long, pink snout, and their sense of smell is superb. They have a long, sticky tongue which aids in catching smaller, hard to catch prey. Greater Bilbies are omnivorous, feeding on bulbs, fruit, seeds, fungi, insects, worms, termites, spiders and small lizards. They do not require much water as they acquire it from their food.


Social organisation and Reproduction

Greater Bilbies are primarily a solitary species, coming together only during breeding season. Breeding season is usually March- May, however if conditions are favourable, they may breed slightly earlier or later in the year as well. Greater Bilby’s pouches opens backward so as not to be filled with dirt whilst digging their burrows. After a gestation period of 12-14 days, 2-3 joeys will be born and make their way to the pouch. The joeys will spend 70-80 days in the pouch developing and feeding on milk, before emerging and living in the burrow in a ‘crèche’ with other joeys. About 2 weeks after leaving the pouch, joeys are independent of their mother. Greater Bilbies can produce up to 4 litters in 1 year.