Bandicoot, any animal of the marsupial genus Perameles, which is the type of a family Peramelidae. The species, about a dozen in number, are widely distributed over Australia, Tasmania, New Guinea and several of the adjacent islands. They are of small size and live entirely on the ground, making nests of dried leaves, grass and sticks in hollow places and forming burrows in which they pass a great part of the day. Though feeding largely on worms and insects they ravage gardens and fields, on which account they are detested by the colonists. The name is often extended to the family.