Northern Brown Bandicoot, Isoodon macrourus
The northern brown bandicoot (Isoodon macrourus) is a species of marsupial that is classified within the Peramelidae family. It can be found along the eastern and northern coastlines of Australia and on several islands including Papua New Guinea. It prefers to reside in two habitats, depending upon the season, residing in areas with thick vegetation during the dry season and grasslands during the rainy season. It is thought that this yearly migration is caused by varying food abundance.
The northern brown bandicoot reaches an average body length between 5.9 and 16 inches, with an average weight of 2.6 pounds. Males display a sexual dimorphism, growing to be about 2.8 inches larger than females. The fur of this species is rough and is typically brown in color with small black spots occurring throughout. The underbelly is typically white in color. It can be confused with the southern brown bandicoot, but it is larger and occurs in a distinct range.
The northern brown bandicoot is a solitary species that holds its own home ranges. Despite this, individuals will only fight if there is a territorial dispute among males, and this often ends with no aggression. In this case, dominate males hold the rights to the territory and the females within the area. This species will construct nests above ground using twigs and hay and these are typically waterproof. However, some individuals will choose to nest in abandoned rabbit holes or tree hollows. It is most active at night and consumes a variety of food types including seeds, insects, and berries.
The breeding season of the northern brown bandicoot occurs throughout the year. After breeding, females have a pregnancy period of about 12.5 days. Litters contain between two and four young, which are born in their mother’s pouch and develop quickly. Males do not take part in raising young and weaning occurs at sixty days of age. The average lifespan of this species is about two years. Because it is nocturnal, a number of predators including owls, cats, and foxes commonly hunt it. It has undergone a reduction in population numbers due to the introduction of European livestock and rabbits, which caused competition for food and shelter, as well as introduced predators. The northern brown bandicoot appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Least Concern.”
Image Caption: Northern Brown Bandicoot (Isoodon macrourus), Queensland, Australia. Credit: D. Gordon E. Robertson/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)