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Greater Bilby
Zoo location: 
Scientific Name: 
Macrotis lagotis
Phylum: 
Chordata
Species class: 
Mammalia
Order: 
Peramelemorphia
Family: 
Thylacomyidae
Genus: 
Macrotis
Species: 
lagotis
Status: 
Vulnerable
Population Trend: 
Decreasing
Quick Facts

Lifespan: 6 years in the wild and 10 years in human care

Weight: Up to 2.5kgs

Size: body length up to 55cm plus a tail of up to 29cm. Females are about half the size of males.

Fun Facts
  • Some Australian use the bilby as the symbol of Easter. The now popularised Easter Bilby has raised further awareness of its plight in the wild as well as funds to support conservation efforts
  • Their large, hairless ears assist them in keeping cool as well as hearing predators
  • The females have a backwards facing pouch so it does not fill with dirt when digging
  • The hind limbs have two small toes that grow close together on the inside of their large middle toe. Like a kangaroo this ‘double nail)  is used for grooming
  • They have the smallest gestation period of all the mammals; only 12-16 days.
Distribution Map: 

Greater Bilby

Taronga has made a centenary commitment to the long-term support of this species. Donate or find out more about how you can support our cause.

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At Taronga:

Taronga Zoo is currently home to four bilbies.  Kwoba is the resident male.  He arrived from Western Australia in 2016 to breed with our two females, Tanami and Tirari.

Tanami and Tirari were the first bilbies ever to be born at Taronga and they are now preparing to become mothers themselves.  With a short gestation period of 12-14 days, once born, the joeys will make their way into mum’s backward facing pouch.  After 3 months in the pouch, the young will start to become more independent, eventually leaving mum by 5 months of age. 

Taronga’s bilbies play an important role in educating the visitors about threats to Australian Wildlife and what can be done to help them. They can be seen in the Australian Nightlife exhibit (Map reference J4).

Region: 
Source: 
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Year assessed: 
2008