• Cranbourne
  • Friends of RBG
  • RBG
  • Science

Get on the Bandi-wagon: Saving the Southern Brown Bandicoot

We’re celebrating one of the wonderful native species that call Cranbourne Gardens home, the endangered Southern Brown Bandicoot. These cute critters play a vital role in maintaining soil health – just one southern brown bandicoot can turn over 3.9 tonnes of soil in a year, helping spread beneficial fungi, increasing nutrient turnover, and improving water penetration into the soil! Read about how you can get on the bandi-wagon and help save this vital species.

Fifty years ago, many residents of South-East Melbourne would often have seen these little fellas snuffling around searching for bugs and fungi to eat, but as Melbourne has grown and our suburbs have expanded, these now nationally endangered bandicoots are getting pretty hard to find. Due habitat removal, introduced predators like foxes and cats, and big, busy roads isolating populations, our bandicoots are in trouble – If we don’t take some serious action quickly, there’s a very real chance we might lose them forever. 

Retaining wildlife within residential areas helps us connect with and value our environment, and keeps plants healthy and ecosystems functioning. In Casey and Cardinia, and around Cranbourne Gardens, we are lucky to be the custodians of a large population of Southern brown bandicoots. With a few small actions, we can all help to make sure these bandi-cuties stick around!

The 411 on Southern Brown Bandicoots

• Southern Brown Bandicoots are marsupials that prefer healthy vegetation with lots of dense understories. They can grow to weigh 1-1.5kg, live for between 3 and 4 years, and have up to 12 young annually (that's a lot of kids!) 
• Southern Brown Bandicoots are most active at dawn and dusk, and generally solitary.
• Southern Brown Bandicoots have distinctive features like (adorable) round rumps, pointy noses, short tails, and strong claws.
• You'll know if a Southern Brown Bandicoot has been through an area – they leave traces like distinctive conical diggings, sparkly scats, and leaf-lined nests.

Why are they disappearing?

• Predation by foxes, dogs, and cats is a massive threat to Southern Brown Bandicoots populations
• Loss of habitat as land is cleared means Southern Brown Bandicoots have nowhere safe to live
• Loss of habitat corridors which enable Southern Brown Bandicoots to move easily between environments leads to issues with breeding

What can you do to help this vital species survive?

• Protect remnant patches of bushland on your property
• Create new habitats for Southern Brown Bandicoots by planting indigenous species, particularly understory plants
• Keep cats and dogs under control and follow council curfews or bans
• Learn to spot bandicoots and help spread the word 
• If you have bandicoots on your property, please report your sightings through the easy to use iNaturalist app or website. This valuable information will help us protect bandicoot populations!

What can you plant in your garden to make it more bandicoot-friendly?

Residents living near the Cranbourne Gardens can help conserve the Southern Brown Bandicoot by creating an indigenous habitat featuring low, dense vegetation for them in their backyards. These plants can be found at local nurseries and at the Cranbourne Gardens Friends’ plant sales. A more comprehensive list of plants indigenous to the City of Casey can be found here.
• Lomandra longifolia
• Lepidosperma concavum
• Leptospermum myrsinoides (Heath Tea-tree)
• Poa morrisii (Velvet Tussock-grass)
• Aotus ericoides 

Officially on the bandi-wagon? Here are some additional resources

• Come along to the Cranbourne Gardens Friends’ plant sale
• Sign up for our bandicoot eNewsletter here 
• Contact our Southern Brown Bandicoot Outreach Officer if you have any questions here

Published on