Bilby Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Anna Reinking

Anni taught elementary school for eight years and is currently teaching college. She received her Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction.

Would you love to ride in a pouch all day as a baby? Would you love to sleep during the day and be awake at night? Well, that is what bilbies get to do. In this lesson, we will learn about this marsupial that lives in the desert regions of Australia.

What is a Bilby?

The rabbit-eared bandicoot, known as a bilby, is an interesting marsupial. It is actually the largest member of the marsupial family, which are animals that can carry their young in a pouch. Unlike kangaroos, though, the bilbies pouch opens backwards.


Living and Eating

Although bilbies are small animals they have an appetite that covers everything because they are omnivores, or animals that eat both plants and animals. They eat small things like nuts, seeds, fruits, spiders, fungi and insects. You know what is interesting, though? They don't drink any water. No water, can you imagine? Well, bilbies do get moisture or the water they need, they just get it from the food they eat, kind of like a panda.

Where do bilbies find their food? They find their food in the desert where the bilbies live. They used to live all over Australia; however, when people came and began building houses, buildings, and roads, the bilbies were pushed out to live in the harsh desert habitat.

In the desert, they dig burrows or little holes under the ground to live in. It would be like if you were on a beach and dug holes in the sand as a way to protect yourself from the sun. The bilbies dig those holes in the desert to live. Sometimes they can have up to 12 burrows at one time. That would be a lot of work to dig that many burrows.

Since bilbies can be hunted by predators, or animals that might eat them like cats or foxes, they have learned how to dig very fast in order to get under the ground and hide. Another way bilbies live, that protects them from major predators, is that fact that they are nocturnal, or sleep during the day. They sleep down under the ground in their burrows during the heat of the day and then at night, when it is cooler, they come up to eat.

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