Meet the bouncing bilbies!
Adelaide Zoo is home to three beautiful Greater Bilbies, Tinka, Rocky, Chomp and Ninu.
Tinka was born at the zoo in 2016 and moved to Monarto Safari Park to be a part of the national breeding program. She returned home to Adelaide Zoo in 2023, and now resides in the Nocturnal House. Confident and friendly, Tinka often follows and interacts with keepers, especially for her favourite treats of mealworms and dog kibble.
Born at Monarto Safari Park in 2020, Rocky also formed part of the bilby breeding program before moving to the Adelaide Zoo Nocturnal House in December 2022. Rocky is building up his confidence and becoming more comfortable with his keepers. He is gentle and inquisitive, and enjoys puzzle feeder enrichment items filled with tasty crickets and mealworms!
Ninu was born on 1 January 2023 at Monarto Safari Park.
Affectionately referred to as the Australian ‘Easter Bunny’, bilbies are known for their rabbit-like long ears. They have silky blue-grey fur with a pointed snout, a long tongue and long claws for digging and foraging for food.
Zoos SA has been part of the National Recovery Team for the Greater Bilby for over 25 years and each birth brings hope for the endangered native species. Our breeding program at Monarto Safari Park, has bred over 200 bilbies with more than 90 released back into the wild as part of vital recovery projects.
We are especially proud of our work in reintroducing Greater Bilbies back to South Australia including Thistle Island, Venus Bay, and Roxby Downs after an absence of nearly 70 years (the first release was in 1997).
Tinka’s own son, Gibs, moved to Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Western Australia to be a part of a breeding program to maintain the genetic diversity of the species.
Bilbies are native to Australia and live in arid rocky habitats with little surface water, semi-arid shrublands and woodlands. They construct deep burrows to shelter from the heat of the day, emerging well after dark to forage.
Using their long sticky tongues to lick up seeds and insects, they rely on their senses of smell and hearing to locate food. They get most of their moisture needs from their diet which consists mainly of plant roots, seeds, fruit and small animals.
These marsupials can have up to four litters in a year. But although there are eight teats in the pouch, usually only two young are born.
The Greater Bilby was once common across 70% of Australia, but are now under threat due to habitat loss, competition with introduced animals and predation by feral cats and foxes. There are less than 10,000 bilbies estimated to remain in the wild.
Love bilbies? Help us keep working to ensure our long-eared marsupial friends stay a hop ahead of extinction!