The animal on the cover of Java NIO is a pig-footed bandicoot (Chaeropus ecaudatus). Though a specimen has not been uncovered since the early 20th century, pig-footed bandicoots were once found throughout central and south Australia and in Victoria. These rabbit-like creatures dwelled in many habitats. In the central deserts, they took up residence in sand dunes. In Victoria, they lived in grassy plains. In other areas, they preferred open woodland with shrubs and grass.
Pig-footed bandicoots grew to be about 230-260 millimeters in length, with a tail of 100-150 millimeters. They had rough, orange-brown fur on the dorsal side of their bodies and a lighter color on their undersides. Their long tails ended in a black tuft. Their bodies were narrow and compact, and they had pointed heads with ears like a rabbit's. Their feet and legs, however, were much different from other bandicoot species'. Its forelegs and hindlegs were long and skinny, ending in strangely shaped feet with nails resembling a pig's hoof. On its hindfeet, the second and third toes were fused, and only the fourth was used in locomotion.
Pig-footed bandicoots are believed to have been solitary animals. Depending on their environment, they may have built nests made of grass or dug short tunnels with a nest at the end. These bandicoots lived on the ground and used their keen sense of smell to find food. The most well-documented behavior of Chaeropus ecaudatus was its locomotion. Their movements were often erratic. A slow gait took the form of a bunny hop, while an intermediate gait was a lumbering quadrepedal run with the hind limbs moving alternately. However, Aborigines have reported that the pig-footed bandicoot, if pursued, could reach blazing speeds by breaking into a smooth, galloping sprint.
Little is known about the reproductive cycle of C. ecaudatus, but from studying other bandicoots, it can be inferred that pig-footed bandicoots did not carry more than four young per littler. Females had a strong, sturdy pouch that opened on their backsides. Generally, bandicoots have a short gestation period, around 12 days from conception to birth. Each young weighs about 0.5 grams. When their time in the pouch has ended, baby bandicoots are left in the nest, and around 8-10 days later, they leave with their mother to forage or hunt.
This website was created as a support site to
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