Perameles gunnii Gray, 1838, Tasmania, Australia. OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Barred bandicoot, Tasmanian barred bandicoot, striped bandicoot, Gunn's bandicoot; German: Tasmanien-Langnasenbeutler.
Head and body length is 10.6-13.8 in (270-350 mm); weight is 26.5-35.3 oz (750-1,000 g). Grayish brown fur with light stripes on its hindquarters. Large ears, tapered nose, and short tail.
Victoria, Tasmania, and formerly South Australia, Australia. HABITAT
Grassland and grassy woodland, pasture, also gardens in suburban areas.
Nocturnal, solitary except when courting or mating or females with young.
H Perameles gunnii H Isoodon macrourus H Peroryctes raffrayana
Food is mainly obtained by digging after locating food items by smell. Small pits are dug using the forefeet and the long nose. Food is extracted and deftly manipulated in the front feet. Eats earthworms, adult and larval insects, other invertebrates, tubers, bulbs, and fallen fruit.
Capable of breeding year-round but may cease in colder winter months at lower latitudes (Tasmania) or during hot, rainfall-deficient summers on the mainland. Gestation period 12.5 days, polyestrous, estrus cycle about 26 days. Chorioallantoic placenta formed at about 9.5 days of gestation and is retained in the uterus after parturition. Litter size one to five, average two to 2.5. Pouch life about 55 days, weaned at 70-80 days. The nest is a grass and leaf-lined scraped depression. Growth is rapid and sexual maturity may be reached at about four months. Sequential litters may be born throughout the female's two to three year lifespan. Mating is probably promiscuous.
The mainland form is Critically Endangered. It only occurs in minuscule numbers at one site in the wild. A recovery program, involving reintroduction to protected sites of captive-bred animals has been in operation since 1989. The principal continuing threat is predation by introduced carnivores, particularly red foxes and cats, for which species continuing control is essential for the reintroduced populations to survive. The Tasmanian population appears to be declining in some parts of its range, such that it is locally threatened in its postulated focal range but has, conversely, expanded into new areas as forest has been felled and converted to pasture. The main predator in Tasmania is the cat.
The eastern barred bandicoot was eaten by aboriginal Australians. It is a minor annoyance to landholders in suburban areas due to foraging in lawns. ♦
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