It’s National Bilby Day!

September 13, 2009 • 12:59 pm

Our friends down under, including Russell Blackford, are celebrating BilbyFest, which comes annually on the second Sunday of September. Last April I posted on this highly endangered marsupial, which by virtue of its burrowing habit and appearance has replaced the rabbit as Australia’s symbol of Easter.  The bilby is one of those animals, like frogs, that are just plain weird, and which you could never envision if they didn’t already exist.

Here are some baby bilbies from Adelaide:


Figure 1.  The greater bilby, Macrotis lagotis

Here’s the launch of National Bilby Day in 2005.  I can’t imagine a more Australian photo than this:

Peter_Scott_Minister_Frank_bilby.sizedFig. 2.  Dignitaries at Bilby Day Launch.  l. to r.: Peter McRae, Bruce Scott (local federal MP for Charleville area), Minister for Environment, bilby and Frank Manthey.

h/t: Otter

14 thoughts on “It’s National Bilby Day!

  1. Wait till the “rabbit ears” are claimed as some kind of copy from a rabbit by “the designer.”

    IDists and their ilk always give themselves away whenever they think they have something that really would have to be the work of a designer (a real copy into unrelated (and not gene-swapping) species or the like), because they know that evolution really is falsifiable. But they’ll never admit that evolution has passed many telling tests (ID, none that were entailed), they’ll only admit such tests if they’re fooled into believing that evolution failed the test.

    The only tests that count are those that evolution fails, and that ID passes. Thus the many bogus “tests” of ID, like “complexity,” which are impossible to derive from non-existent ID theory.

    Glen Davidson

  2. which by virtue of its burrowing habit and appearance has replaced the rabbit as Australia’s symbol of Easter.

    Well, not really. More as a joke than as a real situation.

    And these days our environment minister looks like this.

    1. I think it looks more like a cross between a possum and a jackrabbit (with a sprinkling of the elephant shrew.)


  3. For a second I thought this post was about something called National Bible Day.

    I prefer the Bilby to the Bible any day and every day.

  4. And when Conway Morris sees this post, and notes the convergence with kangaroo rats, what great metaphysical significance do you think he might give it?

  5. Very cute. My wife loved them.

    Australia is so interesting because where we have rabbits they have bilbys, and so on in most every niche. Such an eloquent illustration of how ecology works, how environment can shape nature in a similar fashion in disparate locations. Our wolves versus their marsupial wolves (recently extinct I believe,) our deer versus their kangaroos, even if you go back a few thousand years, Africa’s lion versus the marsupial lion. Fascinating.

    1. You mean we HAD bilbys, but now unfortunately we have rabbits. And how I wish Bilbys had supplanted rabbits for Easter symbols, but then I would also think it’s odd for us to be having an essentially pagan celebration of Spring in Aumtumn. I think Australia in general needs to invent some relevant, secular, non-patriotic festivals and celebrations for itself. Eurpoean culture is just kind of tacked on in the most ironically incongruent way.

      1. Sex on the Beach Day would be good. Most Australian baby boomers lost their virginity that way, and I’m sure the younger generations wouldn’t mind having such a festival. It also highlights the great (and in my view entirely desirable) Australian preoccupations with sunshine, the beach, and a sort of benign hedonism.

        Hmmm, but what time of year I wonder.

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