Pig-Footed Bandicoot

pig-footed bandicoot
The Pig-Footed Bandicoot (John Gould).

Name:

Pig-Footed Bandicoot; also known as Chaeropus ecaudatus

Habitat:

Plains of Australia

Historical Epoch:

Pleistocene-Modern (2 million-100 years ago)

Size and Weight:

About six inches long and a few ounces

Diet:

Plants

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Rabbit-like ears; narrow snout; long, spindly legs

 

About the Pig-Footed Bandicoot

As you can guess from its name, the Pig-Footed Bandicoot was one of the oddest prehistoric marsupials ever to grace Australia's vast interior.

This tiny plains-dweller had long, rabbit-like ears, a narrow, opossum-like snout, and exceptionally spindly legs with strangely toed feet, which gave it a comical appearance when hopping, walking or running. As far as is known--since the last living individual was glimpsed over 100 years ago--the Pig-Footed Bandicoot nested during the day in grass-lined burrows, and emerged at night to feed on grass seeds (though specimens in captivity enjoyed a more omnivorous diet).

It's not clear exactly why the Pig-Footed Bandicoot went extinct. This tiny mammal managed to coexist, more or less, with the Australian aborigines for tens of thousands of years; most likely it was the much different farming practices of later European settlers that eroded its habitat and sources of food (it didn't help that the cats and dogs the settlers brought with them made quick snacks of the Pig-Footed Bandicoot, at least those individuals too slow to make a hasty escape).

During the nineteenth century, a few European naturalists tried to study the rapidly dwindling Pig-Footed Bandicoot before it disappeared off the face of the earth. Amusingly, one adventurer went to great pains to obtain two live specimens from a tribe of Aborigines--and then was forced to eat them when he ran out of food!

(See a slideshow of 10 Recently Extinct Marsupials)

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Strauss, Bob. "Pig-Footed Bandicoot." ThoughtCo, Jan. 24, 2017, thoughtco.com/pig-footed-bandicoot-1093124. Strauss, Bob. (2017, January 24). Pig-Footed Bandicoot. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/pig-footed-bandicoot-1093124 Strauss, Bob. "Pig-Footed Bandicoot." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/pig-footed-bandicoot-1093124 (accessed January 21, 2018).