Bilby (Macrotis)

bilby (Macrotis lagotis)

Bilby (Macrotis)…

(Macrotis lagotis) Bilby
Bilby (Macrotis lagotis). Image credit: StephenMitchell by-nc-nd2.0

The bilby is a marsupial, and belongs to the same taxonomic order as the bandicoot. In fact, another name for it is the rabbit-eared bandicoot. Like the bandicoot, the bilby’s pouch faces backward so that dirt doesn’t enter it when the mother digs in the ground. Bilbies are burrowers, and have long claws that enable digging.


Bilby nocturnal
Bilby by Sean Kelleher cc2.0


They are nocturnal and omnivorous. They obtain the water they need from their food — insects, larvae, spiders, fruit, seeds and fungi. Bilbies don’t have very good eyesight, so they rely on their long ears and sense of smell to get around.

bilby (Macrotis lagotis)
A bilby (Macrotis lagotis) with a smaller animal – either a baby bilby or a mouse – at Sydney Wildlife World, a zoo in Sydney. Image credit: Dcoetzee

Females have eight nipples. Around three or four young are born after a pregnancy period of 14 days. The mother carries the babies in her pouch for about 75 days, when they are old enough to be on their own. Bilbies can reproduce year-round, depending on food supplies and rainfall.

Bilbies (also known as macrotis) are featured in the following books:
25 Awesome Australian Animals!
25 Nocturnal Animals of the World.
101 Facts – Marsupials!

The YouTube video playlist below contains videos about bilbies. Details of the videos featured are underneath.

The Playlist:

  1. Meet Australia’s Endangered Native Easter Bunny by Taronga Sydney
  2. Baby Bilbies at Adelaide Zoo by RZSSA
  3. The Bilby Brothers TRAILER by greenplanetfilms
  4. Malcolm Douglas and the bilby project by EngelAustralia


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