Greater Bilby (Macrotis lagotis)

14 InterestingFacts About Bilby

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The bilby, sometimes referred to as the Australian rabbit-bandicoot, is a unique marsupial found in the deserts of Australia. With their long ears and soft grey fur, these adorable creatures almost look like tiny bunny rabbits.

Bilbies are incredibly important to the Australian ecosystem, but their numbers have dwindled over the years. Read on to learn more about these fascinating little animals.

Interesting Facts About Bilby

  1. Bilbies are marsupials. Like kangaroos, koalas, and other Australian mammals, bilbies carry their young in a pouch. Baby bilbies, called joeys, stay in their mother’s pouch for 75-80 days.
  2. They have an excellent sense of hearing and smell. Bilbies can rotate their large ears almost 360 degrees to better detect predators and food sources. Their long snout also aids their sense of smell.
  3. Bilbies are omnivores and eat insects, spiders, seeds, fruit, fungi, and even small animals. Their diet can vary greatly depending on the season.
  4. They have a specialized tongue that they use to eat seeds and insects. Their tongue has a hard, sharp point ideal for breaking through seed coats and shelling termites.
  5. Bilbies dig intricate burrow systems that can be nearly 3 meters long and 2 meters deep. Other animals will often move into abandoned bilby burrows.
  6. They are nocturnal and only come out at night to avoid daytime predators. During the day bilbies sleep in nests made of plant material inside their burrows.
  7. Bilbies can run up to 29 km per hour over short distances. This helps them catch prey and escape predators.
  8. They have a lifespan of up to 11 years. Most bilbies in the wild live less than 5 years due to predation.
  9. Predators of bilbies include foxes, cats, wild dogs, and birds of prey. This has contributed greatly to their endangered status.
  10. Bilbies once inhabited 70% of mainland Australia, but are now restricted to 20% of their former range.
  11. There are two recognized subspecies of bilbies – the greater and lesser bilby. Only the greater bilby remains today.
  12. Bilbies are essential for seed dispersal and soil health in the Australian outback. Their burrows also provide homes to other species.
  13. Major threats to bilbies are habitat loss, livestock grazing, drought, and invasive predators. Protecting their habitat is vital to conservation efforts.
  14. Bilbies are a protected species in Australia. Conservation programs like predator-free fenced areas, captive breeding, and relocations help support populations.


The bilby is an endearing and ecologically vital animal that is synonymous with the Australian outback. These captivating little bandicoots have some amazing adaptations that aid their survival in harsh desert environments.

Sadly, bilbies have undergone drastic declines since the European settlement of Australia. Learning about and protecting these iconic marsupials is imperative to preserve Australia’s unique wildlife. With sustained conservation efforts, hopefully, bilby populations can recover in more of their former range.

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