Bilbies have poor eyesight, but use their large, relatively hairless, rabbit-like ears to hear insects burrowing underground and their hairless pink noses give them a keen sense of smell.

Bilbies have poor eyesight and mainly rely on hearing and olfaction for perceiving their environment.

The bilby has a long, pointed snout with sensory vibrissae and a hairless pink nose. It has a keen sense of smell, which is used to sniff out food buried underground as well as perceive scent markings of other individuals.

Bilbies are known for their large, relatively hairless, rabbit-like ears. With their enormous ears, bilbies have excellent hearing. The ears of bilbies are also used to help regulate body temperature. By placing their enormous ears against the ground, bilbies are able to hear termites and other insects burrowing underground and can listen for predators. They then use their sharp claws and strong forelimbs to dig up insects, bulbs, and other buried food. Hearing seems much less important for bilbies than olfaction, however.

Image | © Bernard DUPONT, Some Rights Reserved, (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Sources | (Brown, 2011; Environment Australia, 2004; Humble, 2006; Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory, 1998; Pavey, 2006; The Wikimedia Foundation, 2021)

Learn More About the Bilby


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