Dan Page, Louise Morris & Lucy Curno Wild Futures

Backyard buddies: The Eastern Barred Bandicoot

CVA and The Understorey Network have teamed up to restore habitats for Eastern Barred Bandicoots in Tasmania – and you can help protect them too!

The Understorey Network Community Bush Garden sits in the picturesque foothills of Hobarts’ Kunanyi/Mt Wellington. This much-loved community bush garden is an area of native woodlands that Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) and The Understorey Network have been working together on to restore native vegetation.

As part of ongoing citizen science monitoring, CVA installed motion sensor fauna cameras to observe which animals are returning to this native grass woodland. One of the most exciting discoveries for CVA was a female Eastern Barred Bandicoot (Perameles gunnii gunnii) with young babies in her pouch. Since this Tasmanian subspecies of Eastern Barred Bandicoot is listed as vulnerable to extinction with declining numbers in the wild, this sighting was extra cause for celebration and reassuring for the future growing population in the Glenorchy foothills.

Based on the images below, CVA estimated the length of the head of the young bandicoots would be approximately 30mm. This indicates that the young also have fur, and therefore will be leaving the pouch in the in the coming weeks — exciting progress for the hope of restoring bandicoot habitats and securing their wild future.

This tiger striped little Australian marsupia is a critical ecosystem engineer that plays a vital role in helping native plants germinate seed, composting leaf litter and increasing soil carbon. And sadly it’s facing challenges in both habitat loss and predation from dogs and cats. The Understorey Network Community Bush Garden volunteers have been doing their part to help by collecting native seed and propagating and growing plants including Silver Tussock Grass (Poa Labillardierei), Kangaroo Grass (Themeda triandra) and Wallaby Grass (Rytidosperma caespitosa) to help with the habitat of the Eastern Barred Bandicoot.

The Eastern Barred Bandicoot dig a davit in the ground and use native grasses to create a roof over the top. They also feed and forage on both the grasses themselves and the insects found within these plants, as well as using the grasses to hide from predators such as Hawks. You may not see the bandicoots, but their long noses leave a trail wherever they go — you can tell if they’ve been foraging for food at night by the distinctive holes in the ground from where their long nose has dug for worms and other insects.

Would you like to do your part to help these super coot backyard buddies? You can plant native  grass species in your own garden, just remember to plant them in groups to give plenty of cover and options for nesting. It’s also important to keep pets inside, especially at night,  to help reduce the risk of bandicoots being injured or killed. By creating a bandicoot-friendly backyard you’re establishing more areas for this little Aussie digger to thrive as well as better homes and nature connection corridors to other native bush areas a range of local wildlife.