Eastern barred bandicoots are quite at home in Tasmania’s urban areas and townships, where well-watered gardens, parklands and grassy roadsides provide feeding grounds. Local residents can be involved in the conservation of eastern barred bandicoot and other wildlife in their own backyards, providing suitable habitats for them to forage, raise young, and seek refuge. Together we can establish a network of refuges for bandicoots and other animals by creating new, suitable habitat in our own gardens.
About eastern barred bandicoots
Eastern barred bandicoot (Perameles gunnii) are small, grey-brown, nocturnal Australian marsupials with several distinctive stripes across their rump.
The species has one of the shortest gestations recorded for any mammal, with the young born just 12.5 days after mating. At birth, the bandicoot is smaller than a jellybean and it attaches to a nipple inside its mother’s rear-opening pouch and grows rapidly on her rich milk. At only nine weeks old, young bandicoots leave the nest and become independent.
Eastern barred bandicoots can reproduce quite quickly in good conditions, however, the young are extremely vulnerable, with many dying from predation or disease. When seasonal conditions are favourable, eastern barred bandicoots can produce up to four litters per year; each litter having between one and four young.
Parts of northern Tasmania as well as the Huon Valley and Hobart’s urban fringes are the last strongholds for the species, but numbers are believed to be in decline. Living in populated areas can be perilous for this threatened species, but by modifying our backyards to include smart garden designs we can help to provide habitat as a daytime retreat and quick escape.
Designing your garden
Five unique, specialised and beautiful garden designs have been created to inspire backyard gardeners and professional landscapers to create habitat for eastern barred bandicoots.
Choose a design to suit your space, from formal to informal garden styles.
‘The Nook’ can fit into a corner of your existing layout; if you are looking for a full makeover then the ‘Woodland Hideaway’ provides an informal option, or perhaps the ‘Suburban Getaway’ for a ready-made landscape design to complement your new build.
'Eastern barred bandicoots do not dig burrows; their nest is usually a shallow depression hidden in thick vegetation with a dome of softer grasses pulled over the top. Planting native tussocks in your garden provides safety and shelter for nesting bandicoots.’
Creating a bandicoot paradise
Bandicoots require an area safe from predators to sleep during the day, with open grassy feeding grounds nearby for night-time foraging.
'The same prickly plantings that provide habitat for bandicoots will also create excellent nesting sites for small native birds like wrens, robins and honeyeaters. Small native blossoms attract a wider variety of birds than large, showy flowers.'
Flexible species and designs
The five garden designs contained in Urban Refuges: Design your garden for eastern barred bandicoots are created specifically to provide the habitat elements that eastern barred bandicoots need and will also attract a range of other native species to your yard.
Each of the designs can be adapted to suit your site and needs. Using the species list and guidance in this booklet will ensure that your garden is bandicoot-friendly. For example, The Nook could be duplicated to frame two corners of your lawn. The terraced designs can be used in part if you wish to retain some lawn or a veggie garden and can be adapted for a flat site or one that slopes in the opposite direction.
Get in touch with your native plant nursery, local Natural Resource Management or Landcare group if you need further advice on plant species suitable for your conditions.
Urban Refuges incentive program
Autumn and spring are the best times of year to plant an Urban Refuge for eastern barred bandicoot. NRM North, supported through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, has funding available to supply plants to eligible landowners who wish to create an Urban Refuge on their property.
Eligible areas include the West Tamar from Deviot to Riverside, as well as Blackstone Heights, Carrick, Hadspen, Longford, Perth and Evandale.
Plants for approved gardens will be available for collection in June and September 2022 and April 2023.
To see if you’re eligible and to apply for funding, download the Guidelines and Expression of Interest Form.
Expressions of Interest for Round 2 are due by 5:00 pm on Monday 22 August 2022.
Q & A's
If you live in the West Tamar, Northern Midlands or Meander Valley regions and want to get involved by planting your own Urban Refuge, please download the information on financial incentives – conditions apply.
There are numerous native plant nurseries around Tasmania that will grow the species listed in this booklet, such as:
It is recommended that you plan your garden well in advance and contact local suppliers to ensure that stock is available or ordered to ensure it is ready for planting.
The most suitable time to plant Tasmanian natives is Autumn.
'In recognition of the deep history and culture of this island, we acknowledge and pay our respects to all Tasmanian Aboriginal people; the past and present custodians of the land. We appreciate and value the connection of Tasmanian Aboriginal people to native animals such as the eastern barred bandicoot, and native plants including species featured in this booklet, many of which have cultural uses for food, fibre and medicine.'
This project is supported by NRM North, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, with thanks to project partners, the Tasmanian Land Conservancy, West Tamar Landcare Group Inc, and the University of Tasmania.
Return to the Biodiversity Program.
Safeguarding northern Tasmania as a refuge for Eastern Barred Bandicoot.
Actions to conserve the critically endangered plant.
Supporting small landholders to care for their natural resources.
Promoting the expansion and recovery of giant freshwater crayfish.
Reducing threats to Hooded Plover breeding success in northern Tasmania.
Reducing threats to the Floodplain Lower Ringarooma River Ramsar site.
Working with community, government and key stakeholders to promote responsible cat management across Tasmania.