Last Reviewed and Updated on January 25, 2023
They may look like rodents, but bandicoots are marsupials, which means they are more closely related to kangaroos than mice and other similar-looking animals. Read on to learn more about these animals, from the basics to some of the most interesting facts about bandicoots.
Bandicoots are marsupials that are native to Australia and New Guinea. They belong to the order Peramelemorphia.
There are more than 20 species of bandicoots.
Their snout is long and pointed (they have V-shaped faces). They have short, strong front legs and large hind feet. In general, bandicoots are small and medium-sized animals.
The mating is seasonal and depends on the species; they can have one or two breeding seasons per year. Female bandicoots have a short gestation period of around 12-14 days.
Bandicoots are omnivorous, and their diet consists of a wide variety of foods such as insects, larvae, roots, seeds, fruits, berries…
Facts About Bandicoots
You got to know the basics; now let’s explore so,e of the more remarkable facts about bandicoots.
1. Some species are often mistaken for rats
Southern brown bandicoots have a somewhat similar appearance to a not-so-popular rodent; the rat. They are often mistaken for one.
2. They have pouches, similar to kangaroos
Female bandicoots have pouches like most other marsupials (like the kangaroo). Unlike most, their pouches are reversed; they open at the back. This ensures the dirt doesn’t get inside the pouch when the female bandicoot digs around in the ground.
3. Their name loosely translates to “pig rat”
The common name bandicoot derives from the term ‘pandi-kokku,’ which means ‘pig-rat’ in Telugu, an Indian language. This term was initially applied to a group of rodents in India that aren’t related to bandicoots.
4. Giant bandicoot is the largest of them all
From mouse-sized to rabbit-sized, bandicoots come in many sizes. The giant bandicoot is believed to be the largest species.
5. Some of the bandicoot’s fingers are fused
This is something known as syndactyly. This is a condition when one or more of the digits on their feet are fused together.
6. The name bandicoot is informally used for some other species as well
The name bandicoot is informally used for other species of animals, such as bilbies.
7. The game character Crash Bandicoot is based on this species
Crash bandicoot, the game character, is based on these animals. More interestingly, an extinct species of bandicoot was discovered and described in 2014 that was given the name Crash bandicoot; the name is partially inspired by the game character.
8. They grunt when they find food
Something we can all relate to.
9. They move around similar to rabbits
Bandicoots are marsupials (like kangaroos) but move around using a slow bunny-like hop.
10. Many species can jump high
They have powerful hind legs that enable them to make impressive jumps in the air, with many species being able to reach 20 inches / 0.5 meters if need be.