A pair of endangered baby bilbies has been born in Queensland, in what is surely the cutest tongue twister of all time.
The team at the Charleville Bilby Experience announced that a bilby called Ruby had given birth to twins so, first and foremost, a big congratulations to the new mother.
The bilby twins so far haven’t had their sex determined or been named, but given the timing, surely they need to be festive? In my opinion, Rudolph would be quite a fetching name for a bilby. Or they could go with Iris and Amanda a la The Holiday, for a subtler Christmassy touch.
Speaking to the ABC, Charleville’s information centre coordinator Danielle Lancaster described the birth of the twins as a “pre-Christmas gift”.
“They were a little bit shy to begin with and they’ll still pop back into mum’s pouch for about a week after they’ve emerged to have a suckle,” she said.
“It’s quite a comical show for everyone coming to see them because Ruby’s hopping around with half of a bilby coming out of her pouch.”
Now, I am simply begging the Charleville Bilby Experience to post a vid of that on their socials.
According to the World Wildlife Foundation, bilbies are endangered largely because of introduced predators like foxes and feral cats. Before colonisation, bilbies were found across 70% of the Aussie mainland, but now that area’s been reduced to less than 20%.
“Obviously the bilby is still very, very threatened. It’s an endangered animal and the flagship really for the endangered species of Australia,” said Lancaster.
In a bit of extra-nice news, though, Charleville’s breeding program also produced two boy bilbies earlier this year.
Bilbies are also apparently nature’s very own root rats.
“We have to warn people when we have the male in there, it’s often an R-rated show but this is nature and wildlife and that’s what happens,” Lancaster said.
She also described the process of bilby-dating-and-mating as akin to reality TV, which makes perfect sense given the apparent horniness of the species.
“It’s a bit like Married At First Sight. They don’t really get a chance to pick who they are going to go with and that’s purely to increase that genetic pool because it is so, so low.”
Please can there be an Aussie animal edition of MAFS? Frankly, I think it’s what we all need to get through 2022.
Charleville’s not the only Queensland spot to report news of baby bilby twins. Earlier in December, the Ipswich Nature Centre announced the birth of twin girls, and the Ipswich City Council’s been running a competition to decide their names. My above suggestions still stand, JSYK.
Ipswich’s Mayor Teresa Harding said that this pair of bilbies was “not quite a Christmas miracle, but these little girls are a wonderful gift for the Ipswich community and for their species”.
So look, amid all the doom and gloom, it’s nice to know that there’s not one but two adorable sets of bilby twins hopping (or whatever it is bilbies do) around Queensland.