The greater bilby, also known as the Australia’s Easter bunny, is a ground dwelling marsupial. Its large, hairless ears, along with slender hind legs give our friend a rather funny appearance. But, did you know this animal is so popular, that in Australia during Easter, children have chocolate bilbies rather than Easter bunnies?
Where can we find the greater bilby?
Once widely spread across southern Australia, our cute friend is now restricted to small, scattered area, as threatened. Thus, the bilby is found in Western Australia and Northern Territory, and southern Queensland. Moreover, it occurs in dry and hot areas such as deserts, dunes or grasslands. Yet, it favors acacia shrublands as well.
How does the greater bilby look?
As we mentioned at the beginning, the main characteristics of our funny friend are its long, hairless ears and hind legs. Therefore, if you look closer, you will see the bilby looks a lot like the kangaroo! Not surprising, since they are close relatives, right? Moreover, it has a soft and silky fur, colored blue-grey, with tan color patches. Finally, an interesting tail is a grey at the base, turning to black, and ending with white! An adult mesaures between 11 and 22 inches in length, and weighs up to 5,3 pounds.
Did you know this omnivore has a very long and thin tongue just like the anteater? Therefore, our friend can extract a variety of snaks while burrowing in the soil. Yet, it will also consume seeds, grasses, bulbs, larvae, and spiders. However, it will eat fruits, fungi, and lizards as well. Finally, adding eggs, snails, and small mammals, the bilby’s stomach is always full no matter what!
Although polygynous, greater bilbies mate upon the social hierarchy. Therefore, the dominant male will only mate with the dominant female, while lower-ranked members will mate with equals. Since the breeding occurs all year long, the female can produce up to 4 litters. After a gestation of only 14 days, the mother gives birth to 1 to 4 babies. When born, the baby climbs into the mother’s pouch, remaining there for about 75 days. Finally, when two more weeks pass, the young bilby is fully independent.
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