Bilby Trivia

Bilby

Do you think you know the bilby? Test your knowledge of bilby FaunaFacts with this trivia quiz!

Click on an answer choice to receive instant feedback. Red answers are incorrect, but allow you to continue guessing. Green answers are correct and will provide additional explanatory information. Sometimes more than one answer is correct!

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Bilby ears are relatively hairless.
True
Bilbies are known for their large, relatively hairless, rabbit-like ears.
False

Bilbies are protected under Australian law.
True
Bilbies are protected under Australian law and a number of breeding and reintroduction projects are underway, as well as projects to control populations of harmful invasive species.
False

What is the bilby’s average lifespan?
5-7 Years
Five to seven years of age is a typical maximum lifespan in captivity.
8-10 Years
2-4 Years
11-13 Years

What habitats do bilbies inhabit?
Savanna
Bilbies inhabit savanna and subtropical/tropical grassland habitats.
Grassland
Bilbies inhabit savanna and subtropical/tropical grassland habitats.
Forest
Shrubland

When was the bilby first described?
1837
A scientific description of the bilby was first published in 1837 by Mr. J. Reid. Reid based his description on a specimen that he erroneously stated to have come from Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania), where the species has not occurred in historical times.
1937
1717
2017

What is the bilby’s scientific name?
Macrotis lagotis
The bilby’s scientific name is Macrotis lagotis.
Macrotis leucura
Peroryctes broadbenti
Perameles bougainville

What is the bilby’s social system?
Solitary
Bilbies tend to live solitary lives, though some may live together in pairs, usually two females.
Social
Solitary Males, Social Females
Social Males, Solitary Females

What preys on bilbies?
Pythons
While native species, such as carpet pythons (Morelia spilota), monitor lizards (Varanidae), and some raptors (Accipitridae) are potential predators of bilbies, the most common and destructive predators are introduced species.
Monitor Lizards
While native species, such as carpet pythons (Morelia spilota), monitor lizards (Varanidae), and some raptors (Accipitridae) are potential predators of bilbies, the most common and destructive predators are introduced species.
Raptors
While native species, such as carpet pythons (Morelia spilota), monitor lizards (Varanidae), and some raptors (Accipitridae) are potential predators of bilbies, the most common and destructive predators are introduced species.
Tasmanian Devils

Which of the bilbies senses are most keen?
Hearing
Bilbies have poor eyesight and mainly rely on hearing and olfaction for perceiving their environment.
Olfaction
Bilbies have poor eyesight and mainly rely on hearing and olfaction for perceiving their environment.
Vision
Taste

How do bilbies maintain dominance?
Scent Markings
Unlike bandicoots, this hierarchy is not maintained by high levels of aggression. Scent markings outside of burrows seem to signal where an animal is in the dominance hierarchy.
Aggression
Scat
Visual Displays

When did the bilby start replacing the Easter Bunny in Australia?
1990
Bilbies are replacing rabbits as the Australian symbol of Easter, as chocolate bilbies are being sold as an alternative to chocolate bunnies. Since the 1990’s, bilby conservation groups have promoted the idea of replacing the Easter Bunny with the Easter Bilby.
2009
2018
1980

What is the bilby’s mating system?
Polygynous
Bilbies have a polygynous mating system in which the most dominant male will mate with the most dominant female and additional females while lower males will mate with females equal or below them in the social hierarchy.
Monogamous
Polyandrous
Polygynandrous

Bilbies are endemic to what continent?
Oceania
Bilbies are endemic to the Oceania continent.
South America
Asia
Europe

Bilbies historically inhabited what percentage of the continent?
70%
Bilbies were historically found over 70% of continental Australia with populations throughout South Australia, Western Australia, the Northern Territory, and New South Wales. Limited populations were also found in southwestern Queensland.
90%
30%
50%

Bilbies are endemic to what country?
Australia
Bilbies are endemic to Australia.
Tasmania
New Zealand
Papua New Guinea

Bilbies display sexual dimorphism.
True, males are larger.
Bilbies display sexual dimorphism as males have a body mass that is twice that of females. At 800-2,500 grams (1.7 to 5.5 pounds), the male bilby is about the same size as a rabbit. Male bilbies in good condition have even been known to grow up to 3.7 kilograms (8.2 pounds) in captivity. The female is smaller, and weighs around 600 to 1,100 grams (1.3 to 2.4 pounds).
False.
True, females are larger.

Which sex of bilby has a pouch?
Female
Female bilbies have a pouch.
Male
Both, Male & Female
None

Where are female bilby nipples located?
Both, Inside & Outside the Pouch
Bilby females have nipples both deep inside the pouch and nipples that hang outside the pouch. Each type of nipple provides a different type of milk for the offspring living outside the pouch versus inside the pouch.
Inside the Pouch
Outside the Pouch

How many litters can a bilby produce each year?
4
When environmental conditions are favorable, a female bilby may produce up to four litters a year.
2
6
8

How do bilbies traverse?
Gallop
Bilby hindlimbs are slender and similar to those of kangaroos. Rather than hopping, bilbies use their legs to gallop around the desert.
Hop
Crawl
Walk

What kind of coat does a bilby have?
Soft & Silky
The bilby’s fur is soft, silky, and blue-grey in color with a mix of tan or fawn over the majority of the body. The belly is covered in white or cream fur.
Course & Wooly
Full & Fluffy
Fine & Glossy

What is the bilby’s population trend?
Decreasing
The bilby suffers from an ongoing decline estimated to exceed 10% over the last 3 generations of 12 years that is likely to continue.
Increasing
Stable
Unknown

How do controlled fires benefit bilbies?
Promote Seed Growth
Controlled fires are actually important to bilbies because fire promotes growth and seed production of preferred food plants.
Reduce Predators
Soften Soil for Digging
Congregate Prey

What is the bilby’s form of locomotion?
Digitigarde
The bilby has a digitigrade form of locomotion
Plantigrade
Unguligrade
Other

What is the bilby’s circadian rhythm?
Nocturnal
Bilbies are nocturnal and leave their burrows as the sun sets to forage and search for mating opportunities. They may return to their burrow periodically throughout the night to rest or if threatened by a predator.
Diurnal
Crepuscular
Cathemeral

What is the bilby’s evaluation on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species?
Vulnerable
The bilby is evaluated as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species because, although it still has a large extent of occurrence (EOO), it is patchily distributed and has a small area of occupancy (AOO), the population size is estimated to be fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, and it suffers from an ongoing decline estimated to exceed 10% over the last 3 generations of 12 years that is likely to continue.
Least Concern
Near Threatened
Endangered

How long does a bilby remain in its mother’s pouch?
75 Days
After their short gestation, tiny, premature bilby offspring climb into their mother’s pouch and attach to a nipple where they remain for the majority of their time with their mother, 75 days.
95 Days
15 Days
35 Days

Australian Aboriginals once favored bilbies for what resources?
Food
Bilbies were once a favorite traditional food and source of fur for Aboriginal peoples of Australia. The rarity and protected status of bilbies means this practice has been all but abandoned.
Fur
Bilbies were once a favorite traditional food and source of fur for Aboriginal peoples of Australia. The rarity and protected status of bilbies means this practice has been all but abandoned.
Teeth
Claws

How do bilbies benefit the environment?
Engineer Ecosystem
The most important role played by the bilby is that of an ecosystem engineer, an organism that modifies, maintains, creates, or destroys structure within the physical environment.
Reduce Disease
Spread Seeds
Control Prey

What qualities describe the bilby’s tongue?
Long
Bilby tongues are long, sticky, and slender, making it easy to catch termites.
Sticky
Bilby tongues are long, sticky, and slender, making it easy to catch termites.
Short
Course

What is the bilby’s diet?
Omnivorous
Bilbies have an opportunistic, omnivorous diet.
Herbivorous
Carnivorous
Unknown

What systems do bilbies inhabit?
Terrestrial
Bilbies inhabit terrestrial and fossorial systems.
Fossorial
Bilbies inhabit terrestrial and fossorial systems.
Arboreal
Aquatic

So far, bilby reintroduction programs have been successful.
True
Reintroduction programs of the bilby have begun in southern South Australia, southwestern Queensland, western New South Wales, and areas of Western Australia with some success due to the addition of predator-proof enclosures and intense monitoring of reintroduced populations.
False

What is the record bilby lifespan?
10 Years
The oldest bilby in captivity lived about 10 years.
5 Years
15 Years
20 Years

What type of habitats do bilbies inhabit?
Dry
Bilbies inhabit dry habitats.
Moist
Temperate
High Altitude

What is the bilby’s closest relative?
Yallara (Lesser Bilby)
The bilby’s closest relative, the lesser bilby (Macrotis leucura) became extinct in the 1930’s and 1960’s.
Giant Kangaroo Rat
Long-Nosed Bandicoot
Desert Bettong

The bilby’s scientific name derives from what feature?
Rabbit-Like Characteristics
The specific epithet lagotis was chosen from its resemblance to the rabbit, the lagomorph.
Omnivorous Diet
Long Tail
Australian Location

Bilby home ranges overlap.
True
Home ranges of males, females, and juveniles are likely to overlap, but not much social contact is made with the exception of mating.
False

What makes wild bilbies hard to observe?
Nocturnal Lifestyle
Little has been recorded about bilby mating in the wild due to their decreasing numbers and semi-fossorial, nocturnal lifestyle.
Fossorial Lifestyle
Little has been recorded about bilby mating in the wild due to their decreasing numbers and semi-fossorial, nocturnal lifestyle.
Decreasing Population
Little has been recorded about bilby mating in the wild due to their decreasing numbers and semi-fossorial, nocturnal lifestyle.
Shy Behavior

For what do bilbies use their large ears?
Locate Prey
The ears of bilbies are used to help regulate body temperature and by placing their enormous ears against the ground, bilbies are able to hear termites and other insects burrowing underground and can listen for predators.
Regulate Body Temperature
The ears of bilbies are used to help regulate body temperature and by placing their enormous ears against the ground, bilbies are able to hear termites and other insects burrowing underground and can listen for predators.
Avoid Predators
The ears of bilbies are used to help regulate body temperature and by placing their enormous ears against the ground, bilbies are able to hear termites and other insects burrowing underground and can listen for predators.
Attract Mates

Which sex of bilby possess a linear social hierarchy?
Male
Captive male bilbies seem to possess a linear social hierarchy.
Female
Both, Male & Female
None

The bilby is the mascot for the Commonwealth of Australia Endangered Species Program.
True
Bilbies are promoted as a mascot for the Commonwealth of Australia Endangered Species Program.
False

Bilby copulation occurs in what system?
Fossorial
Copulation seems to take place underground with the longest mating sessions recorded taking place for around 18 hours.
Arboreal
Terrestrial
Aquatic

Which sex of bilby keeps larger home ranges?
Male
Home range sizes of male bilbies are usually much larger than those of females. Female home ranges are from 0.18 to 1.5 square kilometers while males have home ranges of between 1.5 to 3.16 square kilometers.
Female

Bilbies currently inhabit what percentage of their historical range?
20-30%
Today, bilbies are limited to 20 to 30% of their original territory and are found in Great Sandy, Tanami, and Gibson deserts in northwest Australia and the southwest tip of Queensland.
60-70%
40-50%
80-90%

Bilbies drink water.
False
Bilbies do not drink water, but instead obtain water from their food.
True

How do male bilbies differ from females?
Larger Foreheads
Male bilbies have enlarged foreheads, longer canines, and a body mass that is twice that of females.
Longer Canines
Male bilbies have enlarged foreheads, longer canines, and a body mass that is twice that of females.
Longer Tails
Longer Ears

What is the bilby’s parental investment?
Maternal
Female bilbies are the only caregivers of young.
Both, Maternal & Paternal
Paternal
None

Bilby nipples produce different milk depending on their location on the body.
True
Each type of nipple provides a different type of milk for the offspring living outside the pouch versus inside the pouch.
False

How long is bilby gestation?
2 Weeks
The female bilby oestrus cycle lasts around 21 days. Bilbies have one of the shortest gestation periods of all mammals, only 14 days.
6 Weeks
2 Months
6 Months

How many digits are on each of a bilby’s forelimbs?
5
The bilby’s forelimbs are strong and consist of five digits.
3
4
6

The bilby’s fur protects it from termite bites.
False
Since bilbies have soft fur that does not protect their bodies well from termite bites, they dig tunnels leading to termite chambers and lap them up with their long, slender tongues.
True

What threatens the bilby?
Agriculture & Aquaculture
Bilbies are threatened by agriculture and aquaculture and invasive and other problematic species, genes, and diseases.
Invasive Species
Bilbies are threatened by agriculture and aquaculture and invasive and other problematic species, genes, and diseases.
Energy Producing & Mining
Biological Resource Use

What is the bilby’s generation length?
4 Years
The bilby’s generation length is 4 years.
8 Years
2 Years
6 Years

When is the bilby breeding season?
Year-Round
Bilbies have the ability to breed throughout the year, depending on environmental conditions.
Summer
Spring
Fall

How many bilby subspecies are recognized?
0
Currently, there are no recognized bilby subspecies.
2
5
10

What is the bilby’s population?
9,000
The population size is estimated to be fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, at 9,000 mature individuals.
90
900
90,000

When do bilbies become independent?
3 Months
After about 3 months, the young leave the burrow and must fend for themselves with no additional parental care.
2 Weeks
1 Month
6 Months

What percentage of bilbies reach adulthood?
25%
It is estimated that only 25% of offspring produced will reach adulthood while the rest will become prey for predators or succumb to the elements.
50%
75%
95%

Bilby’s accidentally consume what materials?
Soil
Unfortunately, the bilby’s method of feeding leads to a large consumption of soil and sand as well.
Sand
Unfortunately, the bilby’s method of feeding leads to a large consumption of soil and sand as well.
Water
Vegetation

What do bilbies eat?
Plants
Bilbies have a diet consisting of seeds, especially those of the grasses Dactyloctenium radulans and Yakirra australiense, bulbs, larvae, termites, ants, spiders, fruit, fungi, lizards, and occasionally eggs, snails, or small mammals.
Insects
Bilbies have a diet consisting of seeds, especially those of the grasses Dactyloctenium radulans and Yakirra australiense, bulbs, larvae, termites, ants, spiders, fruit, fungi, lizards, and occasionally eggs, snails, or small mammals.
Eggs
Bilbies have a diet consisting of seeds, especially those of the grasses Dactyloctenium radulans and Yakirra australiense, bulbs, larvae, termites, ants, spiders, fruit, fungi, lizards, and occasionally eggs, snails, or small mammals.
Lizards
Bilbies have a diet consisting of seeds, especially those of the grasses Dactyloctenium radulans and Yakirra australiense, bulbs, larvae, termites, ants, spiders, fruit, fungi, lizards, and occasionally eggs, snails, or small mammals.

What purposes does a bilby’s burrow serve?
Heat Protection
These burrows serve as protection from predators as well as from the harsh sun and other environmental conditions and provide a safe place to cache young while adults are foraging.
Predator Protection
These burrows serve as protection from predators as well as from the harsh sun and other environmental conditions and provide a safe place to cache young while adults are foraging.
Offspring Cache
These burrows serve as protection from predators as well as from the harsh sun and other environmental conditions and provide a safe place to cache young while adults are foraging.
Food Cache

What are alternate names for the bilby?
Dalgyte
The bilby is also known as dalgyte in Western Australia by the Noongar people. The Wiradjuri of New South Wales also call it bilby. Other vernacular names include pinkie and rabbit-eared bandicoot.
Pinkie
The bilby is also known as dalgyte in Western Australia by the Noongar people. The Wiradjuri of New South Wales also call it bilby. Other vernacular names include pinkie and rabbit-eared bandicoot.
Rabbit-Eared Bandicoot
The bilby is also known as dalgyte in Western Australia by the Noongar people. The Wiradjuri of New South Wales also call it bilby. Other vernacular names include pinkie and rabbit-eared bandicoot.
Giant Kangaroo Rat

Which sex of bilby scent marks?
Male
Scent marks by males have little effect on females since males are rarely, if ever, aggressive towards females. Females rarely scent mark their territories.
Female
Both, Male & Female
None

Bilbies pair bond.
False
There is no evidence of pair bonding.
True

What direction does a bilby’s pouch open?
Rearward
Bilby pouches open to the rear so as to avoid filling with soil when the animal is burrowing.
Foreward
Leftward
Rightward

National Bilby Day is the second Sunday of which month?
September
Bilbies have their own Australian holiday, National Bilby Day, annually held on the second Sunday of September in hopes of raising funds and educating the public on bilby conservation.
June
March
December

How many offspring make up a bilby litter?
1-4
Each litter typically consists of one to two offspring, though up to four offspring have been reported.
4-8
8-12
12-16

How many claws are on each of a bilby’s forelimbs?
3
The bilby’s forelimbs are strong and consist of three clawed digits and two clawless digits.
5
4
6

What color is the tip of a bilby’s tail?
White
The first part of the bilby’s tail is the same blue-grey as the body with the remainder of it being black and the final 40% being pure white with a distinct crest.
Blue-Grey
Black
Brown

Bilby are threatened by what invasive species?
Dingo
Upon the introduction of dingos (Canis lupus dingo), feral cats (Felis catus), red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), and European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus), the home range of the bilby was greatly reduced.
Red Fox
Upon the introduction of dingos (Canis lupus dingo), feral cats (Felis catus), red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), and European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus), the home range of the bilby was greatly reduced.
Cat
Upon the introduction of dingos (Canis lupus dingo), feral cats (Felis catus), red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), and European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus), the home range of the bilby was greatly reduced.
European Rabbit
Upon the introduction of dingos (Canis lupus dingo), feral cats (Felis catus), red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), and European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus), the home range of the bilby was greatly reduced.

The bilby’s population is severely fragmented.
False
The bilby’s population is not severely fragmented.
True

Which sex of bilby sexually matures first?
Female
Female bilbies reach sexual maturity at around five months old, or 560 grams, while males take around eight months, or at a weight of 800 grams, to reach maturity.
Male

What factors determine the insect/plant ratio of a bilby’s diet?
Habitat
The proportion of insect to plant material that makes up a bilby’s diet depends on the habitat and the season.
Season
The proportion of insect to plant material that makes up a bilby’s diet depends on the habitat and the season.
Gender
Age

Up to how many burrows does a single bilby maintain?
12
A single bilby typically makes several burrows within its home range, up to about a dozen, and moves between them.
1
18
6

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