Bandicoots are a group of more than 20 species of small to medium-sized, terrestrial, largely nocturnal marsupial omnivores in the order Peramelemorphia.[1] They are endemic to the AustraliaNew Guinea region, including the Bismarck Archipelago to the east and Seram and Halmahera to the west.

Temporal range: Late Oligocene - Recent Late Oligocene–Recent
Perameles gunni.jpg
Eastern barred bandicoot (Perameles gunni)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Marsupialia
Clade: Agreodontia
Order: Peramelemorphia
Superfamilies, Families, Subfamilies, and Genera

See text.


The bandicoot is a member of the order Peramelemorphia, and the word "bandicoot" is often used informally to refer to any peramelemorph, such as the bilby.[2] The term originally referred to the unrelated Indian bandicoot rat from the Telugu word Pandikokku (పందికొక్కు).[3]


Bandicoots have v-shaped faces, ending with their prominent noses similar to proboscises. These noses make them, along with bilbies, similar in appearance to elephant shrews and extinct leptictids, and they are distantly related to both mammal groups. With their well attuned snouts, and sharp claws, the bandicoot is a fossorial digger. They have small but fine teeth that allow them to easily chew their food.[4]

Like most marsupials, male bandicoots have bifurcated penises.[5]

The embryos of bandicoots have a chorioallantoic placenta that connects them to the uterine wall, in addition to the choriovitelline placenta that is common to all marsupials.[6] However, the chorioallantoic placenta is small compared to those of the Placentalia, and lacks chorionic villi.

Bandicoots may serve as a primary reservoir for Coxiella burnetii. Infection is transmitted among them by ticks. These are then transmitted to domestic animals (cattle, sheep and poultry). The infected domestic animals shed them in urine, faeces, and placental products. It is transmitted to humans causing Q fever by inhalation of aerosols of these materials. Main symptoms may be pneumonia and/or hepatitis. Bandicoots can reach 11 to 31 inches in length, and 0.4 to 3.5 pounds in weight. Bandicoots have long, pointed snout, large ears, short body and long tail. Their body is covered with fur that can be brown, black, golden, white or gray in color. Bandicoots have strong hind legs designed for jumping.


Classification within the Peramelemorphia was previously thought to be straightforward, with two families in the order—the short-legged and mostly herbivorous bandicoots, and the longer-legged, nearly carnivorous bilbies. In recent years, however, it has become clear that the situation is more complex. First, the bandicoots of the New Guinean and far-northern Australian rainforests were deemed distinct from all other bandicoots and were grouped together in the separate family Peroryctidae. More recently, the bandicoot families were reunited in Peramelidae, with the New Guinean species split into four genera in two subfamilies, Peroryctinae and Echymiperinae, while the "true bandicoots" occupy the subfamily Peramelidae. The only exception is the now extinct pig-footed bandicoot, which has been given its own family, Chaeropodidae.

Vernacular namesEdit

The name bandicoot is an Anglicised version of a word from the Telugu language of South India which translates as 'pig-rat'. What we now call bandicoots are not found in India and bandicoot was originally applied to completely unrelated mammals—several species of large rats (rodents). Today, these species, belonging to the genera Bandicota and Nesokia, are referred to as 'bandicoot rats'. Blust (1982, 1993, 2002, 2009)[15][16][17][18] reconstructs the form *mansar or *mansər 'bandicoot' for Proto-Central–Eastern Malayo-Polynesian (i.e., the reconstructed most recent common ancestor of the Central–Eastern Malayo-Polynesian languages), but the validity of this reconstruction is doubted by Schapper (2011).[19] It is known as aine in the Abinomn language of Papua, Indonesia.[20]

Bandicoots have different names by the indigenous peoples of the Australia-New Guinea region. For example, the Kaurna people refer to the Southern brown bandicoot as the Bung or the Marti.[21][22]

In popular cultureEdit

The character Crash Bandicoot is a mutant eastern barred bandicoot, titular protagonist of the Sony PlayStation game of the same name, chosen in the late 1990s to compete as a mascot with Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog and Nintendo's Mario.[23] Paleontologists have named an extinct Australian Miocene-era bandicoot, Crash bandicoot, after the character.[14] The species name is unusual, being adopted entirely unaltered, with no attempt at returning to Latin or Greek roots.

There are three anthropomorphic bandicoots in the television series Sonic Boom, twin sisters Perci[24][better source needed]-Staci[25][better source needed] and Bruce Bandicoot.[26]

In 2006, Australian entertainer Ben Murray played Benny Bandicoot during the fifth series of television series The Wiggles.


  1. ^ Bandicoot. Encyclopaedia Britannica. 7 October 2020. Retrieved 29 June 2021.
  2. ^ "Definition of bandicoot from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary". Retrieved 7 September 2011.
  3. ^ Satpathy, Sumanyu (30 September 2017). "A tea party with Topiwalla and Alice". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Bandicoots". Department of Environment and Science, Queensland. 17 September 2009. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  5. ^ "Natural History Collections: Anatomical Differences". Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  6. ^ Feldhamer, George A. (2007). Mammalogy: adaptation, diversity, ecology. JHU Press. p. 232. ISBN 978-0-8018-8695-9.
  7. ^ Strahan, R. (1995). Mammals of Australia. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.
  8. ^ Travouillon, K. J.; Gurovich, Y.; Beck, R. M. D.; Muirhead, J. (2010). "An exceptionally well-preserved short-snouted bandicoot (Marsupialia; Peramelemorphia) from Riversleigh's Oligo-Miocene deposits, northwestern Queensland, Australia". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 30 (5): 1528. doi:10.1080/02724634.2010.501463. S2CID 86726840.
  9. ^ Travouillon, K. J.; Gurovich, Y.; Archer, M.; Hand, S. J.; Muirhead, J. (2013). "The genus Galadi: Three new bandicoots (Marsupialia, Peramelemorphia) from Riversleigh's Miocene deposits, northwestern Queensland, Australia". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 33: 153–168. doi:10.1080/02724634.2012.713416. S2CID 53525712.
  10. ^ Gurovich, Yamila; Travouillon, Kenny J.; Beck, Robin M. D.; Muirhead, Jeanette; Archer, Michael (2013). "Biogeographical implications of a new mouse-sized fossil bandicoot (Marsupialia: Peramelemorphia) occupying a dasyurid-like ecological niche across Australia". Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. 12 (3): 265. doi:10.1080/14772019.2013.776646. S2CID 140187280.
  11. ^ Travouillon, K.J., Beck, R.M.D., Hand, S.J., Archer, M. (2013). "The oldest fossil record of bandicoots (Marsupialia; Peramelemorphia) from the late Oligocene of Australia". Palaeontologia Electronica. 16 (2): 13A.1–13A.52.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ Travouillon, Kenny J.; Archer, Michael; Hand, Suzanne J.; Muirhead, Jeanette (2014). "Sexually Dimorphic Bandicoots (Marsupialia: Peramelemorphia) from the Oligo-Miocene of Australia, First Cranial Ontogeny for Fossil Bandicoots and New Species Descriptions". Journal of Mammalian Evolution. 22 (2): 141. doi:10.1007/s10914-014-9271-8. S2CID 14643777.
  13. ^ Stirton, R.A. (1955). "Late tertiary marsupials from South Australia". Records of the South Australian Museum 11, 247–268.
  14. ^ a b Travouillon, K. J.; Hand, S. J.; Archer, M.; Black, K. H. (2014). "Earliest modern bandicoot and bilby (Marsupialia, Peramelidae and Thylacomyidae) from the Miocene of the Riversleigh World Heritage Area, northwestern Queensland, Australia". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 34 (2): 375. doi:10.1080/02724634.2013.799071. S2CID 85622058.
  15. ^ Blust, Robert. 1982. The linguistic value of the Wallace Line. Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 138:231–50.
  16. ^ Blust, Robert. 1993. Central and Central-Eastern Malayo-Polynesian. Oceanic Linguistics 32:241–93.
  17. ^ Blust, Robert. 2002. The history of faunal terms in Austronesian languages. Oceanic Linguistics 41:89–139.
  18. ^ Blust, Robert. 2009. The position of the languages of eastern Indonesia: A Reply to Donohue and Grimes. Oceanic Linguistics 48:36–77.
  19. ^ Schapper, Antoinette (2011). "Phalanger Facts: Notes on Blust's Marsupial Reconstructions". Oceanic Linguistics. 50 (1): 258–272. doi:10.1353/ol.2011.0004. S2CID 145482148.
  20. ^ Foley, William A. (2018). "The languages of Northwest New Guinea". In Palmer, Bill (ed.). The Languages and Linguistics of the New Guinea Area: A Comprehensive Guide. The World of Linguistics. 4. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 433–568. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
  21. ^ "Five facts about bandicoots". 28 July 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  22. ^ "CLICS³ - Concept BANDICOOT". Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  23. ^ Making Crash Bandicoot – part 2. All Things Andy Gavin (15 January 2011). Retrieved on 2017-07-07.
  24. ^ Bill Freiberger on Twitter. Twitter (18 July 2015). Retrieved on 20 July 2015. "Tom Clancy's: Is Perci a bandicoot? / Bill Freiberger: Yes, she is."
  25. ^ Bill Freiberger on Twitter. Twitter (7 September 2015). Retrieved on 7 September 2015. “Jenny Mai Anh Ngo: Hey! Does Perci have an identical twin sister?! / Bill Freiberger: Yes, her name is Staci".
  26. ^ Grenier, Benoit (21 October 2017). "Don't Make Me Angry". Sonic Boom. Season 2. Episode 100. Boomerang.

External linksEdit

  •   The dictionary definition of bandicoot at Wiktionary