What do they look like? The Greater Bilby is usually the size of a small cat and has soft, blue-grey fur with white under-parts, a distinctive white-tipped tail, long, highly sensitive ears and a pointed snout. The toes on its front feet have slightly curved claws for digging.
Where do they live? The Greater Bilby is a threatened species and its habitat is restricted to drier desert areas in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and a small area of southwestern Queensland. It lives in sandy desert areas and in spinifex grasslands. It digs large burrows up to 2 metres deep where it lives either singly or in pairs. The Greater Bilby likes to live in freshly-burnt country where there are more plentiful supplies of favourite foods.
What do they eat? Being nocturnal, the Greater Bilby does most of its foraging for food at night. Bilbies eat a mixture of plant bulbs and seeds, insects such as termites and witchetty grubs, which it digs up with its strong front legs. A favourite food of the Bilby is the bush onion, or ‘yalka’, that grows in the desert sand plains after a fire has been through.
Behaviour: The Greater Bilby is a nocturnal animal and therefore is much more active at night. Bilbies like to dig a number of burrows within their territory.
Reproduction: The females usually give birth to two young, referred to as joeys, and like other marsupials, the young are born after a very short pregnancy of 12-14 days. They move into the mother’s pouch where they stay for approximately 74-80 days to grow and complete their development. Females have rear-opening pouches so the pouch won’t fill with soil when they dig.
Threats: The main threats to Bilbies are feral cats and foxes, which successfully prey on both young and adult Bilbies.
Conservation Status: Endangered. The Queensland population is now critically endangered, with only 400-600 Bilbies estimated remaining in that region.