Male bilbies possess a linear social hierarchy that is communicated through scent markings, rather than aggression.

Captive male bilbies seem to possess a linear social hierarchy. 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.

Communication between male bilbies usually occurs through scent markings. Males mark the outside of their burrows and the burrows where they have mated with a female by rubbing their urogenital area along the burrow entrance. This is thought to ward off lower-ranked males. Scent marking seems directly correlated to dominance. Dominant males mark over areas less dominant males have previously marked and less dominant males tend to avoid entering burrows of dominant males. Scent marks by males have little effect on females since males are rarely, if ever, aggressive towards females. Females rarely scent mark their territories.

Image | © ron_n_beths pics, Some Rights Reserved, (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Sources | (Brown, 2011; Environment Australia, 2004; Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory, 1998; Pavey, 2006)

Learn More About the Bilby


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