Bandicoot — A bandicoot is any of about 20 species of small to medium-sized, terrestrial marsupial omnivores in the order Peramelemorphia. The word bandicoot is an anglicised form of the Telugu word pandi-kokku, (loosely, pig-rat) which originally referred to the unrelated Indian Bandicoot Rat. The other two species of peramelemorphs are the bilbies.
Classification within the Peramelemorphia used to be simple: there were thought to be two families in the order â€” the short-legged and mostly herbivorous bandicoots, and the longer-legged, more nearly carnivorous bilbies. In recent years, however, it has become clear that the situation is more complex. First, the bandicoots of the New Guinean and far-northern Australian rainforests were deemed distinct from all other bandicoots, and these were grouped together in the separate family Peroryctidae. More recently, the bandicoot families were reunited in Peramelidae, with the New Guinean species split into four genera in two subfamilies, Peroryctinae and Echymiperinae, while the “true bandicoots” occupy the subfamily Peramelinae. The only exception is the extinct Pig-footed Bandicoot, which has been given its own family, Chaeropodidae.
The embryos of bandicoots, unlike other marsupials, form a placenta-like organ that connects it to the uterine wall. The function of this organ is probably to transfer nutrients from the mother; however the structure is small compared to those of the placentalia.