The Bandicoot is Still Here

Long-nosed BandicootAbout a year ago, I decided I had a bandicoot in my garden. I did a lot of research at the time and then watched the habits of my backyard visitor (never actually seeing the creature in the flesh) to really get into the mind of my bandicoot.

Over the past year I’ve developed a true love-hate relationship with my bandicoot. I loved him (her/them) because he (she/they) is a native that struggles in much of Australia. We humans are building out the bandicoot habitat and introducing animals (mainly foxes and cats) that eat the bandicoot – or at least their young. Being a lover of nature, I had to love my bandicoot. 

Then there’s the hate side of it all – the little blighter eats new sprouts, digs up seeds (forget about planting sunflowers if you have a bandicoot unless you plan to build the Great Wall around them), and grazes willy-nilly around the garden.

The love-hate thing did tend to lean (on most days) in the love direction and I’ve worried about my bandicoot. For one thing, the neighbour’s cat hunts in my backyard at night. A big no no as that’s when the native animals are out and about, but there’s nothing I can do about it.

Then there’s the bandicoot repellant that I’ve introduced into my backyard. I have read that one way to get rid of a bandicoot is to spread chicken manure around your yard. They apparently hate the smell and they have very sensitive noses (which is how they find those freshly planted sunflower seeds). So when my chooks arrived, I feared the bandicoot(s) would bolt.

The good news is my bandicoot lives on. He (she/they) doesn’t care one hoot about the neighbour’s cat (no idea if any young have been lost though). Nor does h/s/t mind the smell of chook poo.

bandicoot hole near the chicken coop

Pretty much every day we wander down to the chook pen to let the girls out and we find holes everywhere around their enclosure. The bandicoot lives on and, if anything, is more active than before. Three cheers for the bandicoot (until my kohlrabi seedlings vanish like they did last year, anyway)!

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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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9 Responses to The Bandicoot is Still Here

  1. beechcreekproject says:

    I’ll be honest.. didn’t realize a bandicoot was a real animal. I remember an old video game called “Crash Bandicoot” but it never even crossed my mind that it was animal. You’ve taught me something. Love the story and good luck on your bandicoot.

    • They are very real and on the rise in my area since the local council started baiting foxes (which helps keep my backyard chickens safe too). I have to say I’m not thrilled with the image the title of that video game raises. :-O

  2. I am not as crazy about bandicoots as you seem to be, and have fenced off the entire backyard with bandicoot proof fencing. They cant get into your raised beds though can they?

    • I know I am one of the few gardeners (or anyone with a lawn) who likes the little critters. And no, my raised beds aren’t high enough to keep the bandicoots out. They eat my seeds, turn over my seedlings and dig some pretty substantial holes in their search for grubs. But I’m surrounding all my beds with chicken wire now (more for the cat than the bandicoot) and that’s working. I think my bandicoot and I will live in “harmony” once my last veggie bedd is surrounded.

  3. Maggie says:

    Yes, we have a bandicoot around my place, too. I was just looking at h/s/t holes in the lawn today. The little critter doesn’t hang out in the orchard where the chooks free range…at least h/s/t doesn’t dig in there anyway! Nope, this little Aussie Icon loves to dig up the lawn anywhere BUT in the orchard when I wouldn’t mind so much. hehe. It does explain why my nasturtium seeds have failed to sprout though. Hmmmm might have to put the pots up out of reach.

    • We’ve had free ranging chickens for about 6 months now and the bandicoot diggings have definitely diminished. Too stinky I suppose. H/s/t still pops over every now and then just to make sure I never have a chance to get too proud of my lawn though so h/s/t hasn’t totally forgotten me 🙂

      My nasturtiums have always been left alone by bandicoot, chicken, possum, caterpillars – just a few aphids. But I suppose seeds are a different kettle of fish. Good luck with your potted version.

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  5. fiona says:

    Hi everyone – I live in Numulgi in northern NSW and we have loads of bandicoots (of course I love them) who have worked out how to use the Grandpa Feeders (chicken grain feeders) – so now I have to pop a brick under the pedal at night to stop them helping themselves, which is unfortunate as the chickens like to eat when they first wake up and annoy us until they do – the bandicoots can just rip holes through the chicken wire no problem. So looks like I’ll have to bandicoot proof the chicken pen with snake wire or something – unfortunate as it is a large enclosure. They usually free range but it is handy to have an enclosure when staying away overnite. Oh well off to Bunnings….Fiona

    • Oh dear! My bandicoots always dug around the chook run but never under and certainly never tried to chew the wire. That is a truly bad habit. They also never ate the chicken food. We left it out overnight in little jugs suspended off the ground that the chickens could reach but rats couldn’t. I would have thought a bandicoot could easily get to them though. Maybe we had more grubs which the bandicoots preferred so they left our chicken food alone. Good luck with bandicoot-proofing that run.

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