Animal Info - Golden Bandicoot

(Other Names: Péramèle Doré, Wintarru)

Isoodon auratus

Status: Vulnerable


Contents

1. Profile (Picture)
2. Tidbits
3. Status and Trends (IUCN Status, Countries Where Currently Found, Population Estimates, History of Distribution, Threats and Reasons for Decline)
4. Data on Biology and Ecology (Weight, Habitat, Birth Rate, Diet, Behavior)
5. References


Profile

Pictures: Golden Bandicoot (31 Kb JPEG) (O'Connor 2003); Related species - Southern Brown Bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus) (5 Kb JPEG) (Terrambiente)

The golden bandicoot weighs 260 - 655 g (9.3 - 23.4 oz). It inhabits spinifex and tussock grasslands and was formerly found in desert and tropical woodland habitats. The golden bandicoot is terrestrial and nocturnal. It often makes long tunnels through the grass. The golden bandicoot also digs burrows in sandy soil during hot weather. It constructs a nest concealed in dense vegetation and made of flattened piles of sticks, leaves and grass, sometimes mixed with earth, with no obvious entrance. The nests are located on the ground or in a hollow log. The golden bandicoot is omnivorous, its diet including insects, small reptiles and roots.

The golden bandicoot was formerly widespread in arid deserts and adjacent semi-arid areas and woodlands. It occurred widely throughout central Australia until the 1930's. But by 1983 it was thought to have become extinct in almost all of its mainland range except in the Prince Regent Flora and Fauna Reserve in the northwest Kimberley. It also occurred on Barrow, Middle and Augusta Islands. By 1995 it was known to occur in those locations as well as the Yampi Peninsula in north Kimberley and Marchinbar Island in northeast Arnhem Land, Northern Territory.

Reasons for its decline may include changed fire regimes, exotic predators (especially the European red fox), and competition from rabbits.


Tidbits

*** On the recommendation of local Aborigines on Marchinbar Island, biologists used "burnt sugarbag" to trap for radio-tagging the first golden bandicoots caught in the Northern Territory for over 40 years. ("Sugarbag" is the honey, mixed with wax and pollen, found in wild beehives inside limbs of trees.) (Stephens 1995)

*** Aborigines considered bandicoots to be "old people's food," because they required little speed or strength to catch.


Status and Trends

IUCN Status:

Countries Where he Golden Bandicoot Is Currently Found:

2004: Occurs in Australia (IUCN 2004).

Population Estimates:

[Note: Figures given are for wild populations only.]

History of Distribution:

The golden bandicoot was formerly widespread in arid deserts and adjacent semi-arid areas and woodlands. Its distribution included the Tanami, Gibson, Great Victoria, Great Sandy and Little Sandy Deserts. It also occurred in northern parts of the Northern Territory and Kimberley, Western Australia, and was found on Barrow, Middle, Hermite (Pilbara), and Augustus Islands (Kimberley), off Western Australia. It occurred widely throughout central Australia until the 1930's. By 1983 it was thought to have become extinct in almost all of its mainland range except in the Prince Regent Flora and Fauna Reserve in the northwest Kimberley. It also occurred on Barrow, Middle and Augusta Islands. By 1995 it was known to occur in those locations as well as the Yampi Peninsula in north Kimberley and Marchinbar Island in northeast Arnhem Land, Northern Territory.

Threats and Reasons for Decline:

Reasons for the decline of the golden bandicoot may include changed fire regimes, exotic predators (especially the European red fox), and competition from rabbits.


Data on Biology and Ecology

Weight:

The golden bandicoot weighs 260 - 655 g (9.3 - 23.4 oz).

Habitat:

Its habitat formerly included desert and tropical woodland. Currently it is found in rainforest margins on sandstone (north Kimberley mainland), eucalypt woodlands (Yampi Peninsula), rugged sandstone with eucalypt woodland over hummock grassland (Augustus Island), sandstone with hummock grasslands and heath (Marchinbar Island), and grassland and coastal scrub (Barrow and Middle Islands). (Maxwell et al. 1996)

The golden bandicoot is one of the species that live in the Southwest Australia Biodiversity Hotspot (Cons. Intl.).

Birth Rate:

There are 2-4 young per litter.

Diet:

The golden bandicoot eats termites, ants, centipedes, moths, insect larvae, small reptiles, roots and tubers.

Behavior:

The golden bandicoot sleeps during the day, hidden in a nest of twigs, grass, leaves and other ground litter.


References

Austral. Broad. Corp., Burbidge & McKenzie 1989, Burton & Pearson 1987, Cons. Intl., IUCN 1994, IUCN 1996, IUCN 2000, IUCN 2003a, IUCN 2004, Kennedy 1992, Maxwell et al. 1996, Nowak & Paradiso 1983, O'Connor 2003, Short & Turner 1994, Stephens 1995, Terrambiente


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Last modified: January 5, 2005;

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