The Bilby (Macrotis lagotis) is a marsupial (pouched) mammal in the Thylacomyidae family of pouched mice. It is also known as the Rabbit-Bandicoot or the Rabbit-Eared Bandicoot. It is related to the Bandicoot.

The Bilby has soft grey or blue-grey fur, with a white underbelly. It looks like a large mouse with a long, pointy nose, whiskers, long hairless rabbit-like ears, and a long tail. Its tail has a white tuft of hair at the tip. It has strong forelimbs (front legs) with large, pointed claws. 


It grows to 55 centimetres (22 inches) long, without the tail. The tail is about 29 centimetres (11 inches) long. The male is larger than the female.

It is native to Australia. It prefers arid flat lands and deserts in north-western Australia. 

It does not hop. Instead, it moves like a hare. 

The Bilby is nocturnal, active at night. It lives in a burrow with a system of about 12 tunnels. It comes out at night to forage for food. Its predators include eagles, pythons, large lizards, dingoes, feral cats, and foxes.

It is an omnivore, eating insects, insect larvae, spiders, seeds, fruit, fungi, and small animals. It finds its food by digging in soft ground and sticking its nose and tongue into the soil. 

It is a solitary animal.

The female has a pouch that faces backwards to prevent dirt getting into it. She has one or two young bilbies, called joeys, after a pregnancy of 12-14 days. The joeys stay inside their mother’s pouch for 75-80 days. When they leave the pouch, they stay with their mother for another 14 days before leaving the burrow to feed on their own. 


Location of photographs: Adelaide Zoo, Australia

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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