The Sorrows of Young Werewolf (eyeteeth) wrote,
The Sorrows of Young Werewolf

Your Monday creature: the bilby

Specifically, the greater bilby, Macrotis lagotis, or (literally) "big-eared hare-eared" or (less literally) "Holy what, EARS." Why not the lesser bilby? Because that one's already extinct, since around 1950. The greater bilby, or just "bilby," because it's the only kind left, is very nearly extinct as well, with fewer than a thousand individuals. Oops.

This is a bilby. As you can see, it looks like a rabbit designed by committee:

Bilbies are marsupials. Now, I know what you're thinking, another crazy Australian animal, it's like shooting fish in a barrel to talk about how weird they are. And that is true. But while the bilby is not as interesting as the echidna, and doesn't have a four-headed penis the way the echidna does, or choose its sexual partners by means of a shoving contest, it is interesting for a few reasons of its own. First off, just look at the damn thing. Was it drawn by Hieronymus Bosch or what?

Second, "bilby" is fun to say.

The bilby is a burrowing creature. It has a gestation period of twelve to fourteen days, one of the shortest among mammals, and its pouch faces backward so the pregnant bilby doesn't kick dirt all over her hapless joey as she burrows. Like the black rat, the bilby extracts what liquid it needs from its diet of whatever it finds lying around, and doesn't have to drink any water at all.

It's endangered mostly because of introduced predators like foxes and cats, and competition for food with the hated rabbit. There have been some successful conservation efforts, and conservationists have raised awareness with a movement to replace the Easter Bunny with the Easter Bilby. It makes sense, because what Australian wants rabbits to be fertile? If you're in Australia you can even support bilby conservation by buying delicious chocolate bilbies.

Watch one of these weird little beasts Bosching it up in this video. It moves like a rodent, and like a rodent it wants to get out of that guy's hand. It seems to be saying, "Let me go, I have to get back to The Temptation of St. Anthony."

Lastly, there's this.

The webpage of the Save the Bilby Fund refers to this picture simply as "Bilbies in a hat." They don't seem to realize that the hat in question is a soft felt hat with an indented crown.

That's right.

It's bilbies in a trilby.
Tags: animals, bilbies, photos
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