The Eastern Barred
VCE Environmental Science
Unit 3 Area of Study 2: Biodiversity
By Kirsten Noonan
Eastern Barred Bandicoot
Scientific Name: Perameles Gunnii
Size: It is approximately 300 mm in length (body) with an 110 mm tail.
Weight: They weigh up to approximately 800g but some individuals may weigh up to 1100g.
Appearance: The bandicoot has a slender head tapering to a pink nose and a well whiskered
Colour: Grey-brown with pale white stripes on the sides of the stomach. The belly, feet and
short, thin tail are creamy white.
Diet: They east invertebrates from the soil such as root-eating grubs, beetles, earthworms,
fungi and berries.
On mainland Australia the original native habitat was primarily native tussock grasslands
with scattered open woodlands and shrub cover, particularly along watercourses. In recent
times, the Eastern Barred Bandicoot has survived in highly modified habitats such as tree
plantations, farmland, gardens, parklands, a rubbish tip and a cemetery, areas often
dominated by weed species such as European gorse and spiny rush. The key feature of these
sites seems to have been areas of dense cover adjacent to suitable feeding habitat. The
Bandicoot likes to have scrub and bushes in it’s habitat due to the fact that it gives them
somewhere to place their nest and also somewhere that is sheltered from the weather.
The bandicoot will not survive in it’s current habitat due to the fact that it’s optimal habitat
has been destructed for agricultural reasons. This has made the bandicoot become
endangered which puts the species at danger of becoming extinct.
The East side of
Breeding and Behaviour
The bandicoot usually breed between May and December. The female can breed up to 3-4
times per season with a little size consisting between 1-4 young bandicoots.
As the breeding rate is high, so is the mortality rate for the young. Although the main
source of mortality is unknown, predators and disease seem to be the main culprit.
Throughout the day, the adult bandicoots usually stay and occupy the nest with their young
in the first week or so of breeding. Then the young are allowed to exit the nest whilst only
one adult stays. At dusk, most bandicoots leave the nests that they occupied throughout the
day and go scrounging for food.
The Eastern Barred Bandicoot is a solitary animal who only associate with others in the time
The National Conservation Category for the Eastern Barred Bandicoot is that it has been
classified as Endangered. Endangered is when a species is threatened by extinction: a
species whose numbers are so few, or are declining so quickly, that the animal, plant, or
other organism may soon become extinct. Endangered species are sometimes protected
under national or international law.
The Eastern Barred Bandicoot, the mainland subspecies, is listed as threatened under the
Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. threatened is when the species or subspecies
is closing in on becoming endangered. It is considered critically endangered in Victoria
according to DSE’s Advisory List of Threatened Vertebrate Fauna in Victoria – 2003 (DSE
2003). Critically endangered is when a species is nearing extinction, therefore extremely
close to extinction.
The Eastern Barred Bandicoot has become endangered because of the number of threats
and habitat destruction that has occurred to its species. The effect that habitat destruction
has had on the bandicoot is that it hasn’t got the preferred habitat to breed and live it’s life
to the fullest capacity.
Significance to the ecosystem
What is it’s role? The role the Eastern Barred Bandicoot plays in the significance of the
ecosystem is that it rejuvenates that habitat for itself and other species. When the
bandicoot is scrounging through the dirt looking for the invertebrates that are apart of
their diet, it is turning the soil which helps aerate it, making opportunities for seeds
from plants to germinate. This is helping the ecosystem because it is providing other
animals with food that may be important nutritional sources to help them survive.
The bandicoot has to fight against all animals that are larger then them and more
specifically, they have to survive against some types of birds who have the same diet as
the bandicoot due to the fact that it is putting them at risk of not being able to have the
correct nutrition that they need to survive.
Threats to the Bandicoot
Today, there are very few Eastern Barred Bandicoots in the midlands due to the fact that
when the Europeans arrived in Tasmania, the habitat was cleared first for grazing and
agriculture. The clearing of these areas has allowed the bandicoot to become extinct
because without the habitat that is preferred, the bandicoot was unable to survive and has
largely disappeared from the midland.
Other threats may be introduced predators, habitat loss or modification and small
Predators that are threats the bandicoot are cats, dogs and also foxes. These animals attack
the bandicoot and make a common procedure as using it as a food source because they are
much larger in structure than the bandicoot and they also find it easier to hunt them.
Strategies to reduce threats
Some strategies that may reduce the amount of threats to the Eastern Barred Bandicoot
- Increasing the population size by holding the adults in captivity and breeding them,
this is also known as captive breeding. It will
- Trying not to modify the habitat or only changing it in ways that will not cause a lot of
harm to the bandicoot.
- Holding a number of bandicoots in captivity until they are old enough and strong
enough to be able to fend for themselves and fight other animals off.
Management of Strategies
One of the DSE’s management strategies that has been implemented is the monitoring
and protection program. This program has been put in place so that the department are
able to see what the bandicoots are being threatened by and how the bandicoots are
One local management strategy that has been put in place to protect the population of
the Eastern Barred Bandicoot is the captive breeding program. This program gives the
Eastern Barred Bandicoot a chance to be able to breed without the hassle of having to
deal with threats and also allows the bandicoot to increase the life expectancy of its
We can reduce the risk of extinction by reducing the number of threats in the preferred
habitat for the Eastern Barred Bandicoot. Also we could hold some of the bandicoots in
captivity and breed them up until they are ready to be let out into the wild and are able
to fend for themselves.