With its oversized ears and elongated snout, the greater bilby looks like a very peculiar species of mouse. In reality, it is a marsupial closely related to the bandicoot, but is larger and has a more carnivorous diet. Bilbies can only be found in arid regions of central Australia, where their population is in decline. The greater bilby’s closest relative, the lesser bilby, went extinct sometime in the 1950s-1960s.
Bilbies make their homes in spiraling burrows that are very difficult for predators to access. They may keep several burrows spread out around their range, using some for sleeping and others for quick escape if necessary. Bilbies are known to use existing burrows time and again; some existing burrows are thought to be over 100 years old.
Habitat loss and predation by feral cats have led to the greater bilby being classified as nearly endangered. There is currently an aggressive conservation effort going on in Australia including predator-free sanctuaries and captive breeding programs to hopefully restore this unique species.