Bandicoots are found throughout Australia and can be common in coastal areas of New South Wales. They can live in a wide variety of habitats, from rainforests to wet and dry woodlands to heath. During the day they nest in shallow holes in the ground, lined with leaf litter and built under dense vegetation or debris, hiding them from predators and protecting them from rain and sun.
Bandicoots are about the size of a rabbit, and have a pointy snout, humped back, thin tail and large hind feet. There are around 20 species of bandicoots, 3 of which live in New South Wales.
Long-nosed bandicoot (Perameles nasuta)
The long-nosed bandicoot is around 31–43 cm in size and weighs up to 1.5 kg. It has pointed ears, a short tail, grey-brown fur, a white underbelly and a long snout. Its coat is bristly and rough.
The long-nosed bandicoot is common and widespread throughout New South Wales, particularly in coastal areas and on either side of the Great Dividing Range. This species is the most common species of bandicoot in the Sydney area and is known to visit suburban backyards.
Northern brown bandicoot (Isoodon macrourus)
The northern brown bandicoot is around 30–47 cm in size and weighs up to 2.1 kg. It has small, rounded ears, an elongated snout and a speckled, brown-black coat with a pale to white underbelly.
The northern brown bandicoot is common north of the Hawkesbury River, in coastal areas and on the eastern slopes of the Great Dividing Range.
Southern brown bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus)
The endangered southern brown bandicoot is around 28–36 cm in size and weighs up to 1.5 kg. It has small, rounded ears, a longish, conical snout, a short, tapered tail and a yellow-brown or dark grey coat with a cream-white underbelly.
The southern brown bandicoot is patchily distributed and occurs south from the Hawkesbury River to the Victorian border and east of the Great Dividing Range.
There are 2 main populations. One lives in Garigal and Ku-ring-gai Chase national parks in northern Sydney. The other lives around Ben Boyd National Park and Nadgee Nature Reserve in the far south-eastern corner of the state. They are smaller and shyer than other species and do not stray far from their preferred shelter of dense heath vegetation.
Visit the endangered southern brown bandicoot profile page to learn more about what is being done to save this species.
What do they sound like?
Bandicoots have at least 4 distinct vocalisations:
- a high-pitched, bird-like noise used to locate one another
- when irritated, they will make a 'whuff, whuff' noise
- when feeling threatened or alarmed, they will make a loud 'chuff, chuff' noise and loud whistling squeak at the same time
- when in pain or experiencing fear, they will make a loud shriek.