Bandicoot, a small mammal related to the kangaroo. Like the kangaroo, it is a marsupial, an animal whose young are suckled and carried in a pouch on the female's abdomen. There are 17 species of bandicoots, ranging in length from 6 to 21 inches (15 to 53 cm). They are found in Australia, New Guinea, and nearby islands. Most bandicoots have long, pointed snouts, sharp claws, and rounded ears. They are brown with light underparts. Most species sleep in grassy nests during the day and are active at night. They eat mainly insects and worms, which they dig up with the snout and forefeet. The female bears up to three litters of two to five young a year.

Do Bandicoots Have Long or Short Noses?

It depends on the bandicoot (BAN duh koot)! Most types of this ratlike animal have long pointed snouts. But one type has a nose that is short. It is called, of course, the short-nosed bandicoot.

The bandicoot is another marsupial with a backward-opening pouch. All bandicoots have sharp teeth and strong claws. At night, bandicoots use their noses and claws to dig up earthworms, insects, bulbs, and plant roots.

The eastern barred bandicoot has a beautiful coat. Its shiny fur is grayish-brown on top and creamy-white on the belly, feet, and thin tail. The eastern barred bandicoot has pale stripes, or bars, across its hindquarters. That is how it gets its name.

When Is It Time to Move Out?

Bandicoots are the fastest breeders of all mammals. Their young are born 12 1/2 days after mating. And a new litter may be born before the last litter leaves its mother’s pouch. If the pouch gets too crowded, the older bandicoots leave the pouch. They are able to survive on their own outside the pouch.

As soon as the older bandicoots move out, each newborn baby fastens its mouth to a teat in the mother’s pouch. The baby is too little to hold onto the teat by itself. The teat swells inside the baby’s mouth. This keeps the baby from falling off. The baby stays nice and secure in the pouch. When the young bandicoot is big enough, it drops off the teat. Now it is time to move out.

Bandicoots belong to the family Peramelidae. Most of the species belong to the genera Perameles and Peroryctes.