SPECIES: Macrotis lagotis — Greater Bilby
The word ‘bilby’ comes from an Aboriginal word used by the Yuwaalaraay people, meaning ‘long-nosed rat’. They are highly adapted as a species - able to survive and tough it out in the driest of habitats; they have long, sharp claws for digging burrows; they are an omnivore - so the food source isn't much of an issue; they don't require water - instead getting the moisture they need from their food; and for a female Bilby, her pouch opens at the bottom, so as to not shovel dirt in with joeys she may be carrying. The only thing Bilby doesn't have is good eyesight, instead relying on it's very sharp hearing and sense of smell.
It's hard to believe that the Greater Bilby was once found across 70% of Australia. Today, they are under threat from predation and loss of habitat from farming and mining activities, the Bilby also struggles because it competes for food with rabbits.
Photo: Sarah Ash