The northern brown bandicoot is the most common species of bandicoot in the Northern Territory (NT) and is found in the monsoonal tropics of the Top End. 

The golden bandicoot is considered endangered in the NT and it is unlikely you will see one. If you do, report it to Parks and Wildlife.

Bandicoots are a protected species in the NT. You should not interfere with bandicoots without a permit. Read more about wildlife permits.

Northern brown bandicoot

The northern brown bandicoot is the most common bandicoot in the NT. 

It is a rodent-like marsupial with a light brown, coarse coat of hair speckled with black. The underbelly is white. Compared to other bandicoots it has short round ears and a short snout. 

Adults grow to approximately 65cm in length. Males are usually larger than females.

Bandicoots are nocturnal animals that have excellent vision. They spend the day hidden in logs or nests, which are generally made of soft leaves and grasses. 

Bandicoots are usually solitary and highly territorial. They only form pairs to breed from August to April.


Bandicoots eat a wide range of food depending on availability. They are foragers and will eat insects and invertebrates, as well as fruits and grasses. 

In urban areas, bandicoots will sometimes eat pet food left out in gardens.


The range of the northern brown bandicoot's habitat has been reduced due to development, farming and grazing. They also compete for food and habitat with rabbits and livestock, which has lead to a decrease in population size. 

The northern brown bandicoot is common in rural and urban areas where they are often killed by cats and dogs, cars and lawnmowers.

The largest threat to bandicoots is altered fire regimes.

Interaction with people

Bandicoots take advantage of reliable food supplies and well irrigated habitats around homes and towns. 

They can be considered a nuisance due to their digging and foraging that often leads to lawn and garden damage. 

Sadly, bandicoots are occasionally trapped or poisoned because they are mistaken for rats.

Bandicoots near your home

Keep your cat or dog indoors or secure at night so they don't attack bandicoots.

If you think bandicoots are a nuisance in your yard, you can try any of the following:

  • install chicken wire or fencing around affected lawn and garden areas making sure bandicoots can leave your property by leaving small gaps along your fences
  • install sensor or flood lights in affected areas of your backyard to deter bandicoots
  • spread fertiliser or organic litter around affected areas as the bandicoots won't like the strong odour.

Last updated: 01 September 2015

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