Is there a Bandicoot in my garden?

Long-nosed BandicootI didn’t take this photo – I’ve never seen the creature that I’ve been talking about as a pest who was digging in my garden. When the long dry spell was at its worst, something seems to have moved in and feasted mainly in my ginger bed. Since the rains have returned, its hunting ground has grown.

After lots of time surfing the web, I’m convinced a long-nosed bandicoot is living in my back yard.
bandicoot feeding holes
I’m not sure but s/he could be living under the mass of bromeliads behind the compost. There is a bit of a well-worn path leading back there. Their nests are reportedly small and well hidden. I have no intention of poking around looking and running the risk of chasing him/her away.

So I’m relying on the evidence that is everywhere in my yard.
larger bandicoot hole

Besides patches of conical-shaped shot-gun holes in the grass, there are a few bigger ones that I first thought were signs of something living underground, but they end with a little snout-sized hole, perfect for a bandicoot.

Reports are this is how they dig for grubs, worms and borers. Their delicacies.

lonog-nosed bandicoot scatMy final evidence is the scat. I’ve seen these droppings all over the yard for a couple of weeks and attributed them to possums (they were too small for cats) but now, thanks to the internet’s description of long-nosed bandicoot poo as “bullet shape; insect casing often visible” I’m thinking it’s not a possum.

Bandicoots are rare in this area but are reported to be a gardeners friend. They leave holes all over the yard where they remove grubs (and sometimes roots – hmmm, do you suppose they like rhubarb corms?). At first Frank and I thought the diggers were birds, but the holes always materialised overnight – so not a bird. I thought maybe a snake or a rat of some kind but it was happening so extensively I finally began my internet hunt.

Long-nosed bandicoots used to be widespread in this area but thanks to development, cars, cats and dogs, their numbers are reducing. They’re about the size of a rabbit (31-43 cm), they’re a nocturnal marsupial (they have a pouch) and live alone, meeting up only for mating.

I’m now keeping my eye out for the neighbour’s cat Tash and I’ll keep chasing her away whenever I see her. I hope my bandicoot is big enough to deter a Tash attack, but I worry about any young.

As for chemicals in my back yard, never liked them, now I’m definitely not going to spray anything. My definition of pests just might be a bandicoots definition of a good meal.

Update: I’ve had an unusually high number of hits on this post so I’m guessing a lot of people are investigating those holes in their back yard. I feel it my civic duty to include a way to get rid of bandicoots if you’re so inclined (I’m not – still loving hunting for evidence of his nighttime escapades each morning). To encourage a bandicoot to move elsewhere you can put a bright light where he hangs out, they don’t like light (neither will your neighbours or your carbon footprint so this is not my fav suggestion). You can also scatter chicken poo or Dynamic lifter since these have an ammonia smell and bandicoots have a sensitive nose (I wonder if other, self-produced ammonia smelling products might also work). Whatever you do, don’t trap or try to interfere directly with bandicoots – they’re a protected species. I’m sure if you have real angst, you can look up a local wildlife rescue service and they might consider helping with a relocation. But really, I suggest you try doing a morning walk looking for evidence, enjoy the hunt and realise that most traces are gone within 48 hours – how much of a bother is that?

Update 1 August 2012: Last night it finally happened, I saw my backyard bandicoot. There was a ruckus in the back garden – we thought it might have been a possum fight (it might have been) – and Frank went out to investigate. We didn’t turn on the back light so as not to scare whatever it was, Frank grabbed the head lamp off his bike and carried it into the yard. Two minutes later he gave a loud whisper at the back door for me to come down quick. I followed him and he turned on his torch like a spot light and there, in the centre of the beam, was the cutest little bandicoot you could ever hope to see. It was smaller than I expected, a bit longer than my hand I suppose, and very delicate looking. I’ve no idea if this was a mature bandicoot or maybe a teenager or what, but it was happy in my back garden which made me happy.

As quickly as I could whisper, “Oh, how cute”, he scurried (somewhere between a bunny-hop and a cat-dash) away into the dark shrubbery behind the chicken run.

Whew, 1 1/2 years of keeping an eye out at night and monitoring the ever-increasing number of holes in the morning and I have finally seen my bandicoot. I didn’t get a photograph and I don’t expect I ever will get one, but I am content even with no evidence.

About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: www.laurarittenhouse.com for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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100 Responses to Is there a Bandicoot in my garden?

  1. Marisha says:

    June 11 2011 Was shocked to see a small lawn area pockmarked just like your photo and suspected bandicoot damage. Thanks for your site which has been most helpful. We live in Beacon Hill near Dee Why, Sydney. I would rather not have a bandicoot rearranging the appearance of our garden which is mainly decorative and not food productive due to shade and rat issues, living adjacent to a reserve.

    Thanks
    Marisha

    • Marisha, I think with the fox baiting going on in the suburbs around Sydney we’re all going to be happier if we learn to love bandicoots and the resulting holes in our garden! I still enjoy going out every morning and finding his diggings. There’s no method to the madness as near as I can tell but there are a couple of holes he returns to. I’m tempted to dig them up to see what goodies lie underneath that specific patch of grass.

  2. We get lots of bandicoots up here in Northern Queensland. The best thing if you don’t want them digging up your vegetables is to put in a fence – but really re-enforce it low down as they will dig under the fence. We put out a trap and then if we do catch one we re-locate it back into the cane fields where they mostly hang out. It is also a good idea not to water late in the day as that brings the grubs and worms to the surface which is what they are after. Hope this was helpful

    • Well, our fence isn’t reinforced and there are 2 clear “tunnels” between our neighbour’s and out back yard. Since we both like the critter (even with all that digging) we’re happy to share him. Interesting tip about the watering – I always water late in the day and our guest arrived during a two month dry spell when I’m guessing the bush wasn’t offering up a lot of good food. I’m sure my daily watering kept the grubs happy which kept the bandicoot happy.

  3. coral says:

    We live in North Balgowlah near Manly Dam and the holes I’ve been finding in our backyard have been a total mystery until now (I sort of suspected a bandicoot). We’ve been living here for 10 years and never seen anything like it before now. I’d love to see our visitor but it’s obviously very shy — although last night about 1am I heard an animal sound that’s different to anything I’ve heard before (it’s all very exciting). Now I’m going hunting for scat!

    • Coral, I have never ever seen my bandicoot. I’ve gone out with a torch on several evenings at dusk, late at night and even early in the morning before the sun is up hoping to catch it – all with zero luck. Maybe it hears my door open and dashes for cover? To be honest I’m not overly aggressive in my hunt because I don’t want to scare it off with my poking sticks under shrubs and things. The result is my garden gets dug up and eaten and I have regular sprinklings of scat but no photos 😦

      Let me know how your hunting goes!

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  5. Sarah says:

    Thankyou Laura, you’ve solved the case of the mystery diggings in our backyard in Asquith nsw. It’s exciting to think a rare native animal is in our garden.

    • It is pretty exciting – I just wish I’d see the silly thing. Every day there are fresh holes but, no matter what time I go out, I don’t see it in action! Good luck spotting yours.

  6. mish says:

    Great to have come across this info – had narrowed it through internet searching that my grass changes were from a bandicoot – then saw your photos which were identical to mine. I too have been out with a torch – also not searching too hard, as I love the idea of a native aussie clearing out the curl grubs that the landlord brought in with some plants and have taken over. The small holes made nocturnally are easily tamped over and hopefully my previously dying lawn will recover now that the grubs are being eaten regularly! Saves me a job trying to eliminate the grubs and pests. Yay bandicoot!
    Miss

    • Over a year later and I still love mine. WARNING – don’t get too attached to a smooth lawn. The bandicoot(s) no doubt get rid of nasty grass-root-eating grubs, but I’d be telling a porky if I said they didn’t cause their own problems. I think I have a whole family because the odd hole or two have morphed into a field of exploded mines every morning. I no longer tamp them down each morning and just enjoy knowing I have a family feasting in my garden every night.

      Glad you found this site and it was helpful. Like you, I found hunting for a concise description of signs of bandicoots quite a bit of work.

  7. Patricia says:

    Thank you Laura!

    So happy to see your pics, scats and live sighting as a reference, and to read of fox baiting (finally). We used to have bandicoots (Pymble) many years ago, and always regretted their “demise” (love our native fauna), so I recognised these little snout holes instantly, yet I wasn’t confident due to their long absence.

    It was particularly interesting to see the scat pic, I didn’t notice any on the lawn (but then I was mowing), prompting my memory of odd scats I’d seen whilst walking. I knew they weren’t possum, so wondered, now I know.

    I love the holes, like you, they remind me of the cute little critters that made them.

    • Patricia, I’m glad you liked the post. I find encouragement that I’m not the only nutter who likes to have messes made in my backyard.

      It’s funny how so many people bemoan the return of native animals to our gardens. Yes, they eat a bit (or sometimes a lot!) and yes they make it difficult to have a golf-green lawn, but it is wonderful to feel like we’ve actually still got nature in a 5 million inhabitant city.

      • Sinae says:

        I saw your scat pics n looks like rat droppings. I have few holes in the garden that suddenly appear over night. I have a miniature lemon tree where it’s barks been eaten away trunk to tips. ( it’s dying). I got so curious and angry so I put a rat trap. I got something that looks more like a rat ( long tail n not really point nose) but when I released it into Cumberland State Forest ( West pennant Hills), it actually hops away n not in scurrying motion. Do u think it’s a rat or a Bandicoot?

        • I’d bet it was a bandicoot. Maybe a young one? They definitely hop and I don’t think rats ever do.

          The droppings are way too big to be rat droppings, I’m sure mine are from the bandicoot.

          Bandicoots will eat bark and new shoots and can climb a little up trees (more like a stretch and scramble, not really climb). But possums love bark and ours is currently going through the bark on all of our citrus trees. Maybe you have a possum as well.

          I’m not sure moving the bandicoot is legal and I suspect it’s pretty pointless. If your garden is accessible, they’ll come. All that fox limiting going on in this area has meant that bandicoots are spreading like crazy. My attitude is that it is better to embrace them and protect the plants you really want to keep safe (a low fence of chicken wire has kept the bandicoot out of my veggie patch).

  8. Bob says:

    Hate to dampen the bandicoot lovers party, but not so great are the paralysis ticks which come with the bandicoots, their main hosts. This year we’ve had our first bandicoots and now we’ve had our first ticks, having sighted neither of these in forty years. After lots of really itchy bites with red swellings and chasing Lyclear ointment to kill the larval and nymph stages of the tick (ever tried dealing with a 1 mm pest embedded in the back of the neck??) we’d rather the bandicoots give us a wide berth. The garden has been my refuge but now there is this really worrying problem to deal with.

    • I confess that this is the first I’ve heard of the tick problem associated with bandicoots. I’ve done a little bit of research since reading your comment and, though I see you are correct in pointing out that bandicoots are hosts for the little monsters, I’m still not going to resign my membership to the bandicoot lovers party. (Wikipedia has a very LONG article for those interested.)

      Yes, bandicoots (and possums) are frequently the hosts of ticks. This is not surprising when you realise that ticks pretty much live in the same kind of conditions that bandicoots do. So, if you keep a garden that is native animal friendly (lots of leaf litter, cool shady spots, plenty of hidey holes) then you’ve got a chance of ticks and bandicoots. One of the goals of my garden is to provide habitat for native animals – in fact I love to think I’m giving them a wider area to roam after we’ve built over so much of their traditional stomping grounds – so I’m going to have to put up with the bad that comes with the good.

      For the record, I like bush walking and camping as well. Both put me at risk of being bitten by a tick (something that’s happened to me more than once). This could be why I’m not too bothered about what my bandicoots might be dragging around my back garden. But thanks for giving me the heads up. It’s good to be on the alert for any symptoms so I can get treatment if required.

  9. Tim Davenport says:

    Hi Laura – we’ve recently moved into Bonogin in the Gold Coast hinterland in SE Queensland. We have a really active Eastern Brown Bandicoot, which appears a couple of hours after sundown, and spends 5 mins in our ginger beds every night on his/her way through our property. Our bandicoot really isn’t shy – maybe because we back onto eucalypt forest in a pole house, and it’s pretty wild 100m from our back door.
    We get plenty of holes, but it’s a pleasant way to start the day wandering around outside with a cup of tea or coffee filling all the holes in with your foot.
    We have seen the bandicoot a few times, and the good news is that our Jack Russell got out & chased it one night, and the bandicoot basically led it on a merry dance and was never in any danger…0-100 in the blink of an eye, and left the dog behind almost instantly- they can move when they need to!
    Beautiful little animal (a bit bigger than a rabbit) and we’re delighted with our visitor, who joins the wallabies, kookaburras, sugar gliders, lyrebirds, tree frogs, owls, lizards, king parrots & rosellas at our backdoor.
    Re the ticks…well that’s a small negative far outweighed by the positives of living amongst all the amazing wildlife we see daily. None of us have ever had one, and we treat our dogs regularly who live outside all day, in the scrub, and they haven’t had one either. Cane toads cause me more worry with our dogs than the ticks.

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  11. Trish says:

    Hi Laura, Thanks for the pics and info. I thought the scat we have been seeing in our garden every morning in the Northern Rivers region was toad scat. Now I realise it is more likely to be bandicoot scat. We sometimes have the small holes also. We are surrounded by bush so expect all kinds of visitors. I still can’t figure out what has eaten my eggplants. I had about eight small purple and white striped Asian eggplants on just one plant and over two nights they have disappeared. No mess or other evidence left behind and looks like they were carefully snipped off. Quite a mystery.

    • Trish, it sounds like a bandicoot to me – or a possum. It seems to me they have similar tastes and possums certainly like raiding vegetable patches but then so do bandicoots. I sometimes think I should set up a motion activated night vision camera to see who is doing what damage. Not that it would change a thing, just solve one or two mysteries!

  12. Green Knight says:

    glad to see your site! would bandicoot ticks be considered bandicooties?

  13. Pingback: Seek and ye shall find | Laura Rittenhouse's Gardening Journal

  14. Bee Mary says:

    Hi Laura, We had a similar mystery. I was convinced the tumble of bean vines and diggings in my garden bed last year could only have been a bandicoot, but didn’t believe they would be in such a developed urban area. But in the same week my neighbour saw one dashing across his lawn at night. Like you, I’m very glad to have them around.

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  16. Michael says:

    Hi Laura, I’ve noticed holes in my garden/lawn over the past few months, and also wondered what has caused these. I have a large compost heap in my rear garden, and have witnessed many things from bush turkeys and rabbits to bush rats, foraging for food, but this latest evidence, of holes in the garden/lawn puzzled me….until last week, in the middle of the night, I saw a very large animal (about the sized of an adult dwarf rabbit), roaming my back lawn…..yes a bandicoot. He’s leaving holes everywhere, just like your photo. Shallow holes about 3″ to 4″ deep and the same across. I’m in Forestville NSW, (near Frenchs Forest), and I’m suprised to learn that there is an influx of these little marsupials in my area. I was told, that these bandicoot, can displace rabbits, and “take over” their warrens. Apart from losing many cherry tomatoes, these new visitors to my garden are welcome!

    • I’m in Chatswood so we’re practically neighbours. I’ve been here for a decade and in that time have really noticed the increase in wild animals. It’s great that the councils are getting serious about fox baiting – the results are plain to see.

      I’m glad that you, like me, don’t mind losing a few vegetables to such cute little critters. I’ve seen mine once so I know it’s cute. I do wish I could see it more often but they are as shy as they are cute!

      • Michael says:

        It’s been three years since my first comment to your blog Laura, and the bandicoots are still running around in my lawn despite neighbours (on two sides), both having a cat.
        I run, in the mornings, around the local streets in Forestville and Killarney Heights, but one evening last week, I decided to run, after dark around 8pm. Our streets are very quiet, no people, and only the odd car or two returning from shopping in Chatswood, or Warringah Mall. That evening, I was startled to come across, bandicoots on the nature strip. I think they were just as surprised as me, as they didn’t realise I was there, until I was right upon them! They scampered away almost running under my feet to return to the front gardens of the local residents. These little fellas are thriving in Forestville.

        • 🙂 I’m sure those bandicoots told the whole neighbourhood to watch out for that big, running creature that tried to eat them. All their friends will be horrified.

          I’m thrilled the little guys are thriving in your area. Long may they live!

  17. Shaan Tainton says:

    Hi Laura,

    I have two holes which have appeared (about 4 inches in diameter) at either end of my concrete patio. They have both appeared during the last week. The holes have a lot of dirt piled up around them. They seem like quite deep holes given the amount of dirt that is piled up. Is this the type of hole a bandicoot would make? Very strange as I have no idea what it is! I left a pear out for the little fellow last night but it seems he tried to drag it into the hole but it wouldn’t fit 🙂 I live in Galston, NSW. Thanks, Cheers, Shaan

    • Well, the hole sounds like a bandicoot – there is often quite a pile of dirt to one side of the hole. I push it back in and stamp it down in the vain hope my back yard will end up flat. The holes can be that big – though often are quite a bit smaller. I assume size depends on how deep the food is their seeking. But bandicoots don’t drag food into holes because holes are their way at digging up grubs and worms. They don’t live in the holes. Maybe it was dragging it around and just dropped it there. To be honest, I don’t think bandicoots are big pear fans – they really like grubs. Possums will eat pears in a flash. Maybe it was a rat dragging the pear?

      • Shaan Tainton says:

        Hi Laura,

        Thanks for your response. There were also a few small cherry tomatoes from the garden around the hole. As I understand it possums don’t dig holes so perhaps it is a rat!! I would rather a bandicoot or possum. If it is a rat, it is a rather large one. I guess I’ll wait and see. There were some unusual noises out there last night – something that sounded like it was out of The Exorcist – a cross between a hiss and a snoring sound that went on for about 15 minutes (on and off – like someone snoring). Do Bandicoots make a noise? I’m finding this quite amusing as I’m new to the country and have just moved here from Balmain. The only strange noises there are babies crying in their mothers prams.

        I will see what eventuates.

        Thanks!

        Shaan

        • Shaan,

          Bandicoots are very quiet but possums can make all kinds of noises. My possums steal my tomatoes and I’m guessing that’s the culprit in your garden as well. Rats wouldn’t climb a tomato plant to steal the fruit but a possum would. Then it would sit where ever it wanted to eat its harvest. We often find leavings of possum meals. I must admit those leavings are normally someplace hidden like inside my climbing cucumber plants or under bromeliads – I think possums must feel more comfortable when there is shrubbery around them, but who can know for sure what each individual possum wants to do.

          I for one would rather listen to possums mating (or are they fighting? They both sound rather Exorcist-ish to me) than a baby crying. Enjoy the country life (I had to look up Galston since I had no idea where it was – it’s in a beautiful part of the world)!

          Laura

          • Shaan Tainton says:

            Hi Laura,

            Thanks for your message and for your help. If I’m able to catch a glimpse of the little creature I’ll send you a photo!

            Kind regards,

            Shaan

            • Not a problem, glad I could help. I’d love a photo of your bandicoot. After a couple of years I’ve only seen my little visitor once and no way could I have taken a photo it was so dark.

              Happy hunting!

  18. Cynthia says:

    I thought I had my mystery solved, but now has been confirmed by those photographs. I have a bandicoot or bandicoots in my yards. Very exciting. My cat is elderly and docile and spends most of her time sleeping on my bed, so she isn’t a danger, but there are several free ranging cats in my neighbourhood. Hopefully the little ‘coots are fast and have their escape routes well and truly mapped out.

    • Old docile cats are great. Young hunters worry me. There are several in my neighbourhood. The bandicoot survives them but I wonder if any offspring do. But since bandicoots are popping up all over suburbia they must win the war sometimes!

      • Carolyn Munnings says:

        Hi Laura, I live near Old Bar on the mid north coast on 25 acres in the middle of a state forest. We have lived here for 17 yrs and had never seen a bandicoot until about 4 weeks ago. Returning home late one night, in the headlights of our car in front of our garage was what I think was the Northern Brown Bandicoot! I was very excited as like you I love our native flora and fauna! 2 days ago I was thrilled that he had made his way into our house yard and was doing the little hole digging thing searching for food….not bothering with our poor excuse of a lawn but preferring the soft digging to be had In the native garden beds….little rascal! Last night I heard it or them making strange squeaking noises outside our bedroom window…Aaaaahhh….how cute I thought! BUT today maybe I’m not so enamored by my nocturnal visitor!! Last night he or they, managed to find their way into my large permaculture veg/orchard where the ground is beautiful for those dainty claws and oh so cute noses and found lots of grubs and worms that just happened to be hiding under my new beetroot, silverbeet,spring onion and carrot seedlings 😦 it’s already well fenced to keep out wallabies, rabbits, foxes and hares so it’s a bit disheartening. After reading all the correspondence I’m thinking I should water a big patch of ground well away from the veg garden to encourage the worms grubs etc providing my bandicoot with an alternative food source!! Like you I have tried to encourage native wildlife into my garden and we do have skinks, bluetongues, a number of snake species nunumerous birds, a number of frog species, goannas and lots of red neck wallabies in the paddocks….love your blog!

        • Congratulations – you have a new best friend.

          I think that bandicoots eat roots and new shoots as well as worms and grubs. I’m almost positive that every rhubarb I’ve ever tried to grow has become a victim to my bandicoots appetite. In the morning I go out and find leaves lying on the ground and the crown of the plant, vanished. He also definitely eats my sunflower seeds and I blame him for eating my radish shoots (though that could have been the possum). I have found that you can keep the bandicoot out with chicken wire, pegged in every few inches with bricks lining the base. Doable for a small bed, but not for my whole garden.

          I hadn’t thought of watering a patch away from the area I want the bandicoot to avoid. They are supposed to prefer freshly watered areas as grubs and worms are nearer the surface so it might work. But something tells me they’d walk right past a tasty grub to eat a rhubarb corm.

          Good luck and let me know if you have any luck.

  19. jan says:

    I’m in Seaforth, have been away for a week and returned to a garden full of holes and just about at every hole I find poo, or scat as I believe you are calling it. I suspect bandicoots and whilst I like the idea they may be helping me with keeping down insects and lawn grubs, I’m not loving the holes and poo, nor the prospect of tics…both of my children have had tics in the last few weeks, the first ever and we have lived in OZ for 13yrs. I’ll be watching closely to see if I can have my suspicions confirmed and if so, will look for solutions to have them move onto someone else’s garden. Another thing is that the poo smells pretty bad – like cat poo but smaller.

    • Well, I’ve never noticed a nasty smell with bandicoot poo, but I have a pretty high eeeewwww threshold 🙂 It does sound to me like you have bandicoots. And yes, they do carry ticks, but so do possums and cats and the bush is full of them. Some years are bad ones and maybe this is just one of those. As for the recent onslaught, you’ve been away through some really really wet weather and all that water has brought lots of creepy crawlies near the surface – I think it’s driving the bandicoots into a frenzy. Such easy pickings are hard to ignore!

      If you do give up on your bandicoots I wish you and them (it?) well in your parting. It’s not an easy thing to get rid of them and you aren’t allowed to interfere with them since they’re protected. I wonder if by making your garden unattractive enough to move your bandicoot on you’ll end up hating it more than the bandicoots themselves.

      Good luck over the coming weeks and months. If you find a solution, I’d love to hear back from you. This is by far my most popular post which I suspect means a lot of people are trying to figure out what to do with their own bandicoot.

  20. Kerin Merat says:

    Dear Laura,
    Very sad to say I found a small animal in my pool filter about 6 months ago-new to the area and just thought it was a rat but it had markings on it and after finding your site realise it must have been a small bandicoot.(no other evidence as in the lawn) Thank goodness this has not happened again. However, do bandicoots get into wall cavities-have had some noises in the ceiling and wall cavity each night for about a month (probably a mouse/rat) but hesitant to do anything drastic just in case it is a bandicoot.

    • Sad indeed 😦

      I’m no expert at all, but I can’t think that a bandicoot would spend much time in a wall cavity and certainly not the ceiling. Could be a mouse (I try to avoid calling anything a rat – seems like slander) or maybe a possum. The can climb in the cavity and certainly spend a lot of time in ceilings.

  21. Vincent SChultz says:

    We live in the Northern Rivers, and we know we have Bandicoots digging holes. Recently we planted our Winter veggies and overnight they were all gone. Turns out is was a non-native rat which we caught in a trap. Took weeks to find it, used Brussel sprout seedings as bait. I really did think it was going to be a Bandicoot.

    • Yikes!

      I have to say I sometimes laugh at myself at the strong difference in my emotion towards native animals – regardless of their destruction and pest carrying tendencies – and introduced species – especially rats! Too bad it wasn’t a bandicoot that ate your veggies, then I could have suggested you grin and bear it. As it’s a rat, I’ll keep my opinions to myself 😉

  22. graeme collins says:

    Hi Laura,
    I am so glad i have found your info on Bandicoots,i just know that we have them after reading different letters to you, and although the holes are fresh every morning to know that we have Bandicoots poo as well makes my day,it is very exciting
    All the best
    Graeme / Allambie Heights

    • I hope you actually get to see your bandicoot one day. They are very elusive which only adds to their allure. What else could make us all thrilled to find poo in our gardens every morning 🙂

      I’m glad you found my posts helpful.

  23. Vic says:

    We live in Killarney Heights, near Forestville and Frenchs Forest and yes, we too have had a garden full of holes. Low and behold we saw the ‘culprit’ bandicoot at about 10.30 pm last Tuesday. He was larger than I’d imagined, the size of a cat and he walked right up to our kitchen glass door, then roamed the patio, before going back onto the lawn. Very cool and the first we’d ever seen.

    • Congratulations. I’m glad you’ve made first contact, but my experience is not to hold you breath for the next encounter. They are such busy little guys out digging holes constantly, yet appear to be invisible most of the time. I used to stalk my back garden like a lunatic hoping to catch the poor bandicoot off guard but I never managed to spot him. My husband stumbled across him once when he left his invisibility cloak back at his nest. Hubby crept back to the house and summoned me to the back yard. If it weren’t for that I’m sure I’d still never have actually seen a bandicoot in the flesh.

  24. Graeme Collins says:

    i have seen our little Bandicoot several times.he is a little healthy aussie digger and we call him
    RUSSELL,we just see him occasionally and our lawn apart from a few holes is lovely and green,
    I hope he stays on he is most welcme.

  25. Sherrie Cross says:

    So lovely to read of all the Bandicoot news in your beaut blog, Laura. We just saw our first holes this morning in our front lawn in Asquith (a little north of Hornsby, of recent tornado news). Pretty sure we have Bandicoots, as the holes are conical, 3-4 inches deep, 2-3 inches wide, quite pointed at the bottom, with dirt in piles beside the holes. There are about ten holes. We are thrilled as we have never seen evidence of Bandicoots here before.

    • You definitely have bandicoots.

      I’ve read that if you water in the evening, the grubs and things move to the surface and that gets the bandicoots digging for tasty morsels. I suppose your weird tornado might have done the same!

      Enjoy your bandicoot, ignore the holes in your lawn, nature is always more interesting that something perfectly manicured by humans.

  26. Martha says:

    Hi, just thought I’d let you know here in Chatswood we’ve had two dogs on our street die of paralysis ticks, spread by the bandicoot. With the fox baiting going on, there are more bandicoots, and more ticks.

    • How sad about the dogs. I’ve moved to Richmond and we have those ticks here as we’ll (though I’ve not heard of bandicoots). There are flea & tick drips that work to protect cats & dogs according to our vet. I hope bandicoots continue to make a come back & that we do our best to deal with associated problems.

  27. Peter Flanagan says:

    Hi Laura, we live near North Harbour in Balgowlah and are used to native wildlife appearing from time to time. My wife reported seeing a small animal that “hopped” in a way similar to a rabbit, but I dismissed it as an unsolved mystery. Now I am regularly seeing the unmistakeable bandi holes in the turf lawn; it’s very rugged lawn and repairs itself easily so I couldn’t care less about that. But now I can put paid to the legend that bandicoots will only operate in complete darkness because one took a couple of timid steps into our dimly lit study from the back yard at 1.00am in the morning. I was sitting motionless reading a book when I caught this movement in the corner of my eye. I turned to look and we made eye contact 🙂 He was busy following his nose radar sniffing at the floor obviously for food, but this all ended in a nano second – I unfortunately made a startled sound at which he disappeared in a flash and very noisily as his clawed feet scurried across a timber deck! So there you have another myth busted!

    • Peter, I’m totally jealous. I only saw my bandicoot once. And it was way at the bottom of the garden. They are normally such shy creatures. Maybe a wayward grub wriggled into your study and the bandicoot was hot on its trail 🙂 Of course as soon as she realised her mistake – eek, a human – she skeedaddled, good for her!

      • Peter Flanagan says:

        Haha, yes definitely something foodie for sure; actually small skinks are very prolific and wriggle into the house through the same door, and beneath the same deck we often have a large blue tongue who comes and goes too. Most of the deck area is protected from rain so I think this is quite attractive and at the same time provides instant refuge beneath.

        • Oh dear, poor skinks and bandicoots. They have the perfect little hang out which is nearly ruined by those pesky humans who lurk around even when no one wants them there.

          It’s kind of you to provide a refuge for the animals but it would be even kinder if you’d lock yourself in the garage so they could enjoy it 🙂

  28. Justa says:

    After experiencing finding the same little dug holes in our North Balgowlah backyard, I had to investigate further. I must admit, it confused me a little at first as we had rabbits also making themselves at home. We have free range chickens so I thought it could even be rats or possums foraging for scraps. The chickens carry on every so often through the day – but I figure its possibly a blue tongue lizard in the bushes. After carefully looking I found a peculiar little worn path along the fence line. Your pictures of dug up lawn were exactly as what we were getting so was great to discover we may have a bandicoot living here. It was time to put this mystery to an end. Last night I got the torch and checked backyard every now and then. Sure enough, two little shiny eyes were caught in the torch light. There it was, face to face with a long nosed bandicoot. I decided to get my video camera in the slight chance I could film this elusive little creature. Was lucky enough to walk up relatively close to it, but was quite difficult to hold a torch to it in one hand and film in other. (if you’ve ever filmed in the dark of night without any light – you will know how hard this is). But I did get footage and have posted it on YouTube under: The Lurking – Backyard Bandicoot if anyone is interested. Having grown up in QLD, we used to see Bandicoots everywhere in the evenings. As kids, we would chase them around. So it’s nice to see this little animal which brings back fond memories. Another welcome creature to our backyard sanctuary. 🙂

    • Loved the video – I didn’t try to capture even a photo, much less a video. I was just thrilled to see the darned thing. How something can leave 100 holes in the grass but be elsewhere when I went hunting is a true mystery. I did manage to see a bandicoot in the back yard twice which was double the fun of once 🙂

      Definitely welcome creatures!

  29. Edward Tipping says:

    Hi. Laura. Ed Here near Mackay Qld. We ve had echidnas visiting and I thought the diggings were from them. Then I saw your pictures and we knew we had Bandicoots…..lots of them, The lawn is like an end of season rugby pitch ! We have two elderly cats and an outdoor cat that is 6 years old and an avid ratter…..however so far so good as it doesn’t seem to be affecting the bandicoot population.l Another positive for native fauna up here is that the cane farmers stopped burning standing cane several years ago and I m sure this is beneficial to bandicoots. If you ve ever witnessed a cane paddock going up in flames you d know that anything living in it would have little chance of escape as an acre of cane would burn up in a few minutes.

    • I’m glad the sugar cane isn’t burnt off and that the bandicoots are doing so well that they have moved into a yard with cats.

      I don’t know how much damage cats do to bandicoots. I assume the adults are a little too big and a lot like too much work for your average domesticated animal, but it’s the babies I always worried about. But there’s always mamma’s pouch as a nice safe spot. Marsupials have a very cool design 🙂

  30. Graeme Collins says:

    Hi Laura,
    Russell left our back yard,for a while and is back! and the holes he digs, are quite deep usually, around tree roots i have seen him he is a solid boy, and some times when i am hanging out the washing he comes close to my feet, digging and eating and feels quite content with being near me.
    Any way just an update,our Christmas will be perfect again thanks to our Bandicoot Russell
    Have a great Christmas

    All the best
    Graeme Collins

    • Graeme,

      I wonder where Russell wandered off to? No doubt in search of love and he has probably returned victorious having sown his seed far and wide. I hope he enjoys his post-coital R&R in your back garden.

      Thanks for the update, I love hearing that bandicoots continue to thrive in their little pockets of suburbia.

      Have a wonderful Christmas with the intrepid Russell underfoot 🙂

      Cheers,
      Laura

  31. Brett Curtis says:

    We live in Manly , 2095 and have recently seen lots of holes in the lawn. Im a big guy and I had to trim some trees in the yard and days later noticed 4 ticks on me and I was really quite unwell with muscle pain and just a general feeling that something was terribly wrong with my health. Ticks now gone from me , but weeks later still not feeling 100% and then found out that Bandicoots carry ticks so it’s time for the bandicoot to go as we have 3 small children. Don’t know how but with children involved, the Badicoot will be leaving as soon as I figure out how. Anyone want a homeless Bandicoot ??

    • Yes, they carry ticks. So do possums. If you live on the north shore of Sydney and have trees, you’ll have ticks. They are getting worse as wildlife returns but if you want to protect your kids from ticks, you’ll have to move into an apartment in Sydney and avoid parks with trees – your kids will have to stick to play grounds with rubber mats. Seriously, with fox baiting, native fauna is returning and they bring ticks. Moving out a bandicoot or 2 won’t save you from ticks – and it’s illegal, they’re protected. Whatever you do, good look to you, your kids and the bandicoots.

  32. Suzanne says:

    Hi, so glad I found this after searching for the cause of holes in my front garden. Far happier to know it’s a bandicoot than the plague of ground digging spiders I feared!! I’m in Beacon Hill and it makes sense that it’s a bandicoot because I was sure I spotted one in the next street when I was driving home one night some weeks ago. I was really surprised to see it in a suburban street just near busy Warringah Rd. My house seems to have an invisible ‘animals welcome’ sign on it as they just seem to gravitate to it! I even had a ringtail possum make a nest under an open wind-out window. It couldn’t get inside because of a flyscreen but it was wonderful to see it curled up inside during the day and see a tiny little baby when it arrived. I had to leave the window open all winter! I also have a possum nest in the garage. Neither have caused any problems so they’re welcome. My attitude is that we’ve wiped out of animals’ territory by clearing trees for homes and roads, the least we can do is accommodate them if they choose to live around our homes.

    • Suzanne, it’s nice to hear there are other crazy people like me out there. Surely there aren’t many of us who would leave a window open all winter to make a good home for a possum? Though I might have tried a little harder than you did to encourage it to move away – a possum box nearby with some nice apple slices inside is a good trick. But like you say, we’ve wiped out so much of their territory, if they want to drill holes in our grass or live in our roof or window I say they are welcome!

  33. Hi Laura,
    Thanks for info, and all comments from people noting where they have seen bandicoots (I was wondering if we were the first). I’ll add that we have all the evidence of a bandicoot in our backyard, and my wife thinks she saw it. We live in suburban Frenchs Forest, (near Davidson High School), a number of blocks away Warringah national park.
    We feel quite honoured to have our new guest.

    • I’m so happy you like your new guest. I have a friend that lives very near you in Belrose and she’d love her guest to find a new backyard and let her mud patch return to a grassy knoll. I keep telling her she doesn’t know how lucky she is and she keeps grumbling about the time she spends refilling holes. One man’s vandal is another’s guest!

  34. Tracey Jones says:

    Dear Laura – thanks for your blog. I knew we had quendas in our garden in the Perth hills (southern brown bandicoots) but I was starting to get worried we also had rats because of all the poo on the back patio. However, your photo of bandicoot scat has reassured me that it is probably mostly quenda scat to go along with the quenda holes in the lawn which are helping to aerate the lawn. I read somewhere that the female can have three babies per litter and up to 5 litters a year, which would explain all the interesting sounds that I keep hearing at night in the garden which sound a bit like possums fighting. Do you know if quendas can climb? We have a Tipuana in the back lawn that produces helicopter seeds that often are found on the back patio with the seed bitten out of them. Would the quendas climb up and chew them off? I am worried about rats again.

    • Hmmm, never heard of a quenda. I’m not exactly a bandicoot expert – more a well studied observer so you have to take everything I say with a grain of salt. Bandicoots don’t actually climb, not like possums anyway. They do scramble up trunks that are at an angle to eat new shoots or mushrooms or nibble on bark so it can appear that they climb, but I can’t imagine them climbing up a tree to get some seeds. It was probably a possum.

  35. Dianne Hall says:

    Hi Laura. I know we have a visiting bandicoot, I see the holes in the lawn. I,v also seen both types of possum in the garden. We have recently built a new deck which is raised above the ground. Last week I noticed two holes from the garden border going underneath it. We loosely filled them in and next day they were back. Is this likely to be a bandicoot?. I,m happy for it to live with us, just a little concerned as we have a dog but as you say she could catch a tic from lots of places and we do take preventative measures.We live in Collaroy Plateau.

    • It sounds to me like you have yourself a friendly bandicoot. Mine came and went as its own mood took it and sometimes I’d worry then the next day my lawn would be trashed and I would smile in relief while grumbling as I filled my holes 🙂

      I’m sure your dog loves going out every morning to the new scents left by the bandicoot – as long as there are no baby bandicoots nesting for your dog to disturb and no nasty ticks migrate to your dog I’m sure you’ll have a happy, extended family.

  36. Ree White says:

    Hi Laura, I live in Middle Park, a south western suburb of Brisbane. I have noticed droppings on my lawn in the mornings and as I don’t have a dog or cat, wondered what it was. I have also noticed holes, however not big holes like an animal his dug, but more like someone has rammed a a stick down into my lawn. Just wondering if this is likely to be bandicoot, and if they are found in this area. We have many possums (one I had to scoop out of my pool last week) but they are rarely seen on the ground, mostly they are on the fence or shrugs. Thanks for any advice you can give. Ree White, Brisbane

  37. Hi, where I currently live (in WA) we are surrounded by bushland, and bandicoots visit my garden quite often, even in broad daylight. If you don’t mind me including a link to my blog, this post includes a picture of one of my bandicoot visitors. 🙂 http://theindolentcook.blogspot.com/2015/05/easy-quick-pear-and-lime-jam-marmalade.html

    Anyway, I just started gardening and today, much to my dismay, I saw that an animal had eaten the lovely red root part of my radish. The animal did not eat the leaves, however. I’m wondering if it was a bandicoot?

    • Thanks for sending that link with your photo of a bandicoot. I’m very jealous. It looks like your bandicoot makes daylight visits. Mine only ever braved the open air when it was totally dark.

      I suspect it was the bandicoot eating your radish – though rats can do that too. We lost more than one rhubarb plant by something eating the corm and I’ve always suspected our friendly bandicoot. But I’d rather have a bandicoot than a rhubarb plant so I never moaned too loudly 🙂

      • Update – I am now convinced that my garden thief is actually a rat, not a bandicoot! I elevated my planter on a bench, making it less accessible for a bandicoot. Another radish still got stolen, and I saw a rat in the garden around that time! Also, the other thing is, the soil looks remarkably flat each time even after the radishes were eaten, no holes like one would expect from a bandicoot.

    • Here on Sydney around the North Harbor area they are on the rampage right now. The “proof” is the narrow cone shaped holes dug for their little snouts to get down to the food source which would normally be curl grabs, lawn beetles etc. I established a new native garden about a year ago and they love it, coming back almost every night in the last two months.

      However one thing has changed, there are now also larger diggings around the edge of a cycad I have, and this is more random – not snout shaped holes but more like small earth works. I suspect the target is definitely new shoots. It coincides with bandicoot nights so I’m naming them.

      Never mind I am happy to have them.

      Peter

  38. Sharon says:

    We are looking at buying some acres in Queensland and the owner said that the bandicoot is a tick harborer. So I started searching. I have a lovely Havanese with long hair and I am in constant concern about ticks. She has never had one. I loved your blog on your Bandicoot. I must admit I would be very reluctant to shoo them on. I think if we go ahead with the land I will make a nice spot for them and the snakes and hope the owls get any rats.

    • I now live in an area with paralysis tick and I’m concerned for my dog so I know where you’re coming from. I give him tick meds to protect him and just hope for the best. We also have red bellied black snakes and my dog killed one right in front of me – honestly, if it’s not one thing, it’s another! But I’m happy to be surrounded by nature and would rather have the risks associated with that than live in the safety of a concrete jungle.

      • Ticks stay within a very limited radius from home…so the idea they “spread” ticks is a complete myth, they are an inadvertent carrier. Then they only move around at night so I don’t see how they can represent a threat to other animals in that sense. If pets are free to roam through bushland day or night then they will pick them up, without any help from the bandicoots.

        • Sharon says:

          Thanks Peter, That is interesting and a little less scary. I have been told that the paralytic tick also hang on trees, not sure if that is true.

        • I figure if something is endemic, it’s pointless to try to create a space where you’re “safe”. Though it is nice to hear maybe bandicoots aren’t the great transmitters some fear. Maybe they’ll be accepted more if they aren’t feared as carriers.

      • Sharon says:

        Ticks are nasty, I was in Mount Tamborine Queensland a couple of years ago and chatted to a fellow that had his dog in a vet three times in two years and $4000 for the paralytic tick which has a strong presence there. He was talking to a fellow farmer that has cattle and he said he gives his cattle sulphur for ticks. So he started giving his dog sulphur and the last 3 years no ticks. I am doing that too ( eatable sulphur) . I don’t use chemicals. check out Brewers yeast for fleas too. I have not given Havana any chemical treatments. We camp a lot. But I check her every day very well. Checking is the MUST do. 🙂

        • This is the first I’ve heard of sulphur against ticks an brewer’s yeast for fleas. Not normal bread yeast (I have that for baking)? I’ll have to do some internet searching…. thanks for the tips.

  39. Sabine says:

    Ive been finding bullet snapped droppings around the place recently first thinking possums as I know there is many here but the way it was seemed different as I’ve not seen clumps before, this has been happening for a few weeks now, also my lemons on trees had big bites taken? and lettuce and other veggies munched on not sure if kangaroo or what but today unfortunately I think I found the culprit drowned in our pool : ( was shocked to find a beautiful big bandicoot, not sure if he was responsible for all the recent happenings (does not bother me Im happy the fence the veggie patch). poor thing, will leave a few ropes in pool to hopefully prevent an other drownings. I’m in Guanaba Gold Coast didn’t even realise we had them here.

    • What a sad story. Poor little bandicoot. I don’t know if ropes will help but it’s worth a try!

      Yep, bandicoots are pretty much all up and down the east coast (at least, could be elsewhere, I haven’t read that extensively) of Australia. I think that the more aggressive fox baiting taking place in recent years has done wonders for the bandicoot populations and they seem to be spreading into areas where they haven’t been seen for years. That’s great news – unless your a fox. I confess that I think foxes are lovely creatures but I guess if I have to choose, I choose bandicoots!

  40. Sandra Pope says:

    We too have bandicoots in the garden We saw one eating cat food from our cats’dishes one night..it wasn’t at all afraid and I got really close ..took a photo..and then it ran. We know they are around due to scats and holes in the lawn..and the
    way that cat food vanishes!!

  41. Prue Watson says:

    I have been wondering what has been digging holes in my fenced vege garden. I know I have bandicoots but this digging was not the neat little cone shaped hole I have come to know the bandicoots leave in the lawn or the chook run or previously in the garden bed. This was a larger ‘hole’ (about 10cm diameter with another 10cm approx of scattered dirt to one side of the hole. It was unbandicoot like so I was thinking of rats or something else. I was also unhappy finding mature lettuces, large red onion dug up and left aside near the diggings. Previously the bandicoots have been very careful around plants and NEVER damaged a mature plant only baby seedlings. So I thought it was another animal. I found a scat a couple of days ago beside the rhubarb, a coiled scat about the size of 50cm piece. Id read they left scats like possum scat, this was different. I have now seen a photo of a bandicoot scat that was more like the one in my garden. That confirmed bandicoots are the culprit. They are for some reason a lot more active in their digging this year. The bandicoot/s are pushing under the little fence so I will dig the fencing in deep around the bed. I have chickens their straw impregnated waste is strong with ammonia, will be good around the plants to deter the bandicoots. I will also NOT water in the evening. Thanks for these tips. I was despairing of what to do next and did not want to plant anything else until I’d resolved the problem. Thank you for your blog. It has been most helpful.

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