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The animal on the cover of Java NIO is a pig-footed bandicoot (Chaeropus ecaudatus). Though a specimen has not been uncovered since the early 20th century, pig-footed bandicoots were once found throughout central and south Australia and in Victoria. These rabbit-like creatures dwelled in many habitats. In the central deserts, they took up residence in sand dunes. In Victoria, they lived in grassy plains. In other areas, they preferred open woodland with shrubs and grass.
Pig-footed bandicoots grew to be about 230-260 millimeters in length, with a tail of 100-150 millimeters. They had rough, orange-brown fur on the dorsal side of their bodies and a lighter color on their undersides. Their long tails ended in a black tuft. Their bodies were narrow and compact, and they had pointed heads with ears like a rabbit’s. Their feet and legs, however, were much different from other bandicoot species’. Its forelegs and hindlegs were long and skinny, ending in strangely shaped feet with nails resembling a pig’s hoof. On its hindfeet, the second and third toes were fused, and only the fourth was used in locomotion.
Pig-footed bandicoots are believed to have been solitary animals. Depending on their environment, they may have built nests made of ...