Original photos, taken on the edge of the Simpson Desert in 1984, and mainly unpublished, of several Macrotis lagotis (“Rabbit-eared Bandicoot” or “Bilby”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                               Click each photo to enlarge

 

 

Once startled by the noise and headlights of the 4WD driving across the plain, the bandicoots bolted for their burrows at maximum speed, and the first fuzzy pictures, above, were then obtained by holding the camera and telephoto lens out the window whilst steering with the other hand. One daring specimen then cooperatively re-emerged on to the surface at its burrow, facilitating closer photographs.

 

At the time of these sightings and first photographs, Macrotis lagotis was extremely rare, and this eastern population, originally inhabiting most of Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia, was thought possibly extinct. This tiny remnant population in south-west Queensland has since been protected and has recovered somewhat. The presence of this attractive species is an underappreciated feature in Australia’s vast deserts, so travellers in remote areas should always consider possible sightings of this and other rare species.

 

Carr, S.G., & Robinson, A.C. (1997). The present status and distribution of the desert rat-kangaroo Caloprymnus campestris (Marsupialia: Potoroidae). The South Australian Naturalist, 72(1) 4-27.