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What Is a Bilby?
The bilby (also known as the rabbit-eared bandicoot) is a rabbit-like marsupial. It lives in deserts, dry forests, dry grasslands, and dry shrubby areas in Australia. The bilby's pouch faces backwards. These big-eared, burrowing mammals are in danger of extinction.
Bilbies are about 29-55 cm in length. Compared to bandicoots, they have a longer tail, bigger ears, and softer, silky fur. The size of their ears allows them to have better hearing as well. At 1 to 2.4 kg, the male is about the same size as a rabbit; although male animals in good condition have been known to grow up to 3.7 kg in captivity. The female is smaller, and weighs around 0.8 to 1.1 kg. Its sense of hearing and smell are excellent but its vision is poor.
The bilby, like all bandicoots, is a nocturnal animal (most active at night). Unlike bandicoots, they are excellent burrowers and build extensive tunnel systems with their strong forelimbs and well-developed claws. A bilby typically makes a number of burrows within its home range, up to about a dozen; and moves between them, using them for shelter both from predators and the heat of the day.
Bilbies are nocturnal omnivores that do not need to drink water, as they get all the moisture they need from their food, which includes insects and their larvae, seeds, spiders, bulbs, fruit, fungi, and very small animals. Most food is found by digging or scratching in the soil, and using their very long tongues.
The bilby is hunted by foxes and feral cats (cats that have reverted to the wild). The bilby retreats into its burrow for protection.
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