Isoodon obesulussouthern brown bandicoot

Geographic Range

Isoodon obesulus inhabits several different geographic ranges. There are populations in eastern New South Wales, southern Victoria, southeastern south Australia, Kangaroo Island, southwestern western Australia, The Recherche Archipelago, Tasmania, and West Sister Island in Bass Strait. (Nowak, 1991)


Isoodon obesulus prefer dense ground cover, tall grass and low shrubbery. They live near swamps and rivers as well as in thick scrub in drier areas. They make their nests on the ground and in logs. The nests consist of sticks, leaves, grass, and soil. (Macdonald, 1984; Nowak, 1991)

Physical Description

Short nosed bandicoots are plain looking animals, similar in size and shape to rats and rabbits. The species obesulus has a shorter snout than other species of bandicoot, but it is still elongated for foraging. They have short rounded ears and sharp claws. The short nosed bandicoot has several colors in its fur. The upper part of the fur is usually blackish brown with hints of orange or yellow, while the underside is lighter brown, grey, or white. The short nosed bandicoot has a pouch that runs along the stomach and opens backwards between the hind legs. (Nowak, 1991)

  • Range mass
    1.1 to 1.4 kg
    2.42 to 3.08 lb
  • Average basal metabolic rate
    1.238 W


Short nosed Bandicoots have pouches that are characteristic of most marsupials. Females carry their babies in these pouches for about 50 days after they are born. Bandicoots can reach sexual maturity as early as 90 days of age. Bandicoots are polyestrous, which means that they are able to reproduce several times a year. The gestation period in this species is only 12.5 days. This gives Bandicoots the highest reproductive rate of all marsupials. Typically there are 4 babies in the pouch at one time, but up to 5 have been found. (Macdonald, 1984; Nowak; 1991)

  • Key Reproductive Features
  • gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
  • sexual
  • Average number of offspring
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    Sex: female
    210 days


  • Average lifespan
    Status: captivity
    6.5 years


Short nosed bandicoots are solitary animals, which usually only come together to mate. They are highly aggressive and territorial. Territories of same sex members do not overlap. (Nowak, 1991)

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

Isoodon obesulus are omnivores. They feed on soil invertebrates and insects as well as fruits, seeds, fungi, and some plant fibers. They favor insects and worms. Isoodon obesulus use their sharp claws and pointed noses to dig for food. They use their front legs to repeatedly step on prey that is captured in order to crush it. (Macdonald, 1984; Nowak, 1991)

Conservation Status

Many species of bandicoot have already gone extinct due to habitat loss caused by grazing livestock. Many other species including Isoodon obesulus, are in great danger. In Australia the decline of bandicoots is worse than the decline of any other marsupial. (Macdonald, 1984)

Other Comments

There are 7 species of Short nosed bandicoots. The life expectancy of Isoodon obesulus is 2.5 to 3 years.

(Macdonald, 1984; Nowak, 1991)


Rebecca Anderson (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.



Living in Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, New Guinea and associated islands.

World Map

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


uses touch to communicate

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.


A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.


Macdonald, David. 1984. The Encyclopedia of Mammals. Facts on File Publications, NY

Nowak, Ronald M. 1991. Walker's Mammals of the World. Fifth ed. vol.1 The John

Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London.