Hop into Adelaide’s Cleland Wildlife Park to meet a bilby

Hop into Adelaide’s Cleland Wildlife Park to meet a bilby

Com­mem­o­rate Nation­al Bil­by Day by see­ing one of these cute crit­ters for your­self. Here’s what Cle­land has in store.

You might know of the greater bil­by – also known as Macro­tis lago­tis – as the Aus­tralian East­er mas­cot, thanks to its large rab­bit-like ears.

But it’s not just at East­er-time that this vul­ner­a­ble species is in the spot­light – they actu­al­ly have their own spe­cial day: Nation­al Bil­by Day.

Held on 8 Sep­tem­ber, it’s an oppor­tu­ni­ty to shine a light on these crit­ters and learn about their great­est threats and how their pop­u­la­tion is being cared for.

Here in South Aus­tralia, there’s a few places you’re more like­ly to see them for your­self – includ­ing at Cle­land Wildlife Park in the Ade­laide Hills.

Here’s every­thing you need to know before you go:

Beyond the long ears

As well as dis­tinc­tive long ears, bil­bies are char­ac­terised by silky fur and a long well-furred tail with a tuft on the end.

They are well adapt­ed to arid cli­mates where free sur­face water is rarely avail­able. They derive most of their water from food, such as insects and their lar­va, seeds, bulbs, fruit and fungi.

Bil­bies are strict­ly a noc­tur­nal species. Being pow­er­ful bur­row­ers, they con­struct deep bur­rows that may mea­sure up to 3 meters long and 1.8 m deep, and this is where they will stay dur­ing the day­light hours.

Males are larg­er than females in both size and weight. Their back­ward open­ing pouch con­tains eight teats but is usu­al­ly home to no more than two baby bil­bies, which stay in the pouch for about 80 days.

Check them out at Cleland

Vis­it Cle­land and check out the Oceans to Out­back’ inter­pre­tive cen­tre, where you’ll have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to see these curi­ous crit­ters dur­ing the day.

Or for the next month you might like to vis­it the Super Sur­vivors’ trail and dis­cov­er the cool super pow­ers our Aus­tralian ani­mals, like the bil­by, need and have to sur­vive the many threats and dan­gers that they face. You’ll also find out what’s being done to help them and what you can do to help.

This trail is oper­at­ing from 7 Sep­tem­ber – 11 Octo­ber and is free with your entry into the Cle­land Wildlife Park. There’s lots for the whole fam­i­ly to enjoy, includ­ing the chance to decode a secret mes­sage that is hid­den in the trail.

Top tip: Cle­land Wildlife Park has a lim­it­ed time offer of 30 per cent off fam­i­ly mem­ber­ships. By becom­ing a mem­ber of Cle­land Wildlife Park you can have unlim­it­ed access to the park all year round, as well as a num­ber of oth­er ben­e­fits includ­ing on-site dis­counts, a mem­ber newslet­ter and spe­cial one-off offers. The best part – by being a mem­ber, you’re help­ing to con­serve some of South Aus­trali­a’s most icon­ic animals.

Spot them fur­ther afield on the Eyre Peninsula

Bil­bies are a vul­ner­a­ble species in SA and cap­tive breed­ing and release pro­grams sup­port their survival.

As well as Cle­land-bred bil­bies, SA has a thriv­ing colony rein­tro­duced to Venus Bay Con­ser­va­tion Park on the Eyre Peninsula. 

Learn more about some of the species that call SA home by check­ing out ourAni­mal Encoun­ters library.

This sto­ry was orig­i­nal­ly post­ed in April 2017.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living