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Bandicoots are a group of about 20 species of small to medium-sized, terrestrial marsupial omnivore in the order Peramelemorphia. They are endemic to the AustraliaNew Guinea region.


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.[1] The term originally referred to the unrelated Indian bandicoot rat. The word is adopted from a Telugu language word "pandi kokku".


Marsupials, including bandicoots, are among the few groups of species that have a bifurcated penis.[2]

The embryos of bandicoots, unlike other marsupials, form a placenta-like organ that connects them to the uterine wall.[3] The function of this organ is probably to transfer nutrients from the mother; however the structure is small, compared to those of the Placentalia.

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.


Classification within the Peramelemorphia used to be simple. There were thought to be 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 Peramelinae. The only exception is the now extinct Pig-footed bandicoot, which has been given its own family, Chaeropodidae.

In Popular Culture[edit]

The character Crash Bandicoot is an eastern barred bandicoot the protaganist of the Sony Playstation game, chosen to compete as a mascot with Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog and Nintendo's Mario.[12] Paleontologists have named an extinct bandicoot from the Miocene of Australia after the character, Crash bandicoot. Although somewhat unusual for the scientific community, the name was used in an entirely unaltered form, without attempting to return to Latin or Greek roots.[13]


  1. ^ "Definition of bandicoot from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary". Retrieved 7 September 2011. 
  2. ^ "Natural History Collections: Anatomical Differences". Retrieved 2014-03-07. 
  3. ^ George A. Feldhamer (2007). Mammalogy: adaptation, diversity, ecology. JHU Press. p. 232. ISBN 978-0-8018-8695-9. Retrieved 7 September 2011. 
  4. ^ Strahan, R. 1995. Mammals of Australia. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.
  5. ^ K.J. Travouillon; Y. Gurovich; R.M.D. Beck; J. Muirhead (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): 1528–1546. doi:10.1080/02724634.2010.501463
  6. ^ K. J. Travouillon, Y. Gurovich, M. Archer, S. J. Hand and J. Muirhead (2013). "The genus Galadi: three new bandicoots (Marsupialia, Peramelemorphia) from Riversleigh’s Miocene deposits, northwestern Queensland, Australia". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 33 (1): 153–168. doi:10.1080/02724634.2012.713416
  7. ^ Gurovich, Y., Travouillon, K.J., Beck, R.M.D., Muirhead, J., Archer, M., 2013. Biogeographical implications of a new mouse-sized fossil bandicoot (Marsupialia: Peramelemorphia) occupying a dasyurid-like ecological niche across Australia. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology.
  8. ^ Travouillon, K.J., Beck, R.M.D., Hand, S.J., Archer, M., 2013b. The oldest fossil record of bandicoots (Marsupialia; Peramelemorphia) from the late Oligocene of Australia. Palaeontologia Electronica 16, 13A 52p.
  9. ^ Travouillon, K. J., Archer, M., Hand, S. J. and Muirhead, J., 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.doi:10.1007/s10914-014-9271-8
  10. ^ Stirton, R.A., 1955. Late tertiary marsupials from South Australia. Records of the South Australian Museum 11, 247-268.
  11. ^ Travouillon, K.J., Hand, S. J., Archer, M., and 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 34:375-382.
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External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of bandicoot at Wiktionary