Common Wombat (Vombatus ursinus)
Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat or Yaminon (Lasiorhinus krefftii)
Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons)
One of the unique creatures in Australia next to the Kangaroo is the “Wombat”. A wombat, like the Kangaroo, is a marsupial. It is a large brained mammal that has four short legs with a short nubby tail. It has a similiar appearance to a teddy bear. They are found in southeastern Australia and Tasmania living in the forested mountainous regions and the heathlands. Wombats have sharp rodent-like teeth and powerful claws that they use to burrow into the ground. As a marsupial, they have a backwards-facing pouch that is un-affected due to its orientation when digging/burrowing in the ground. Females give birth to one child in the spring and has a 20-21 day gestation period. The youth leave the pouch after 6-7 months and are completely weaned by 15 months. Wombats sexually mature by 18 months. Wombats tend to be mainly active at night or during cool overcast days so are not often seen during daylight. They have a herbivore diet consisting of herbs, plants, grasses, sedges, bark, and roots. Their fur ranges in color from a light sandy or dark brown to grey or black. Most range from 1 meter in length and weighing from 44-77 lbs. Their metabolism is very slow and finishes its digestion from 8-14 days allowing for survival in arid regions. They are very slow moving but when threatened can run up to 25 mph upwards of 90 seconds at a time. They will defend their burrows and attack aggressively when threatened. They usually occupy an area of upwards to 57 acres for their living range. Its donkey-like hind kicks are destructive as are its claws and bites. They have been known to charge humans, break bones, bite, claw, and bowl them over. There are three species of Wombat: The Common Wombat, Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat, and Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat. Wombats are a protective species as humanity has severely damaged its populations through the sarcoptic mite or mange that came to Australia from human activity leading to a long slow painful death. They are also dying from a fungal lung disease that has no cure brought in from farming activity. In addition humans are destroying their habitats as water sources and grazing areas are fenced into farms. Octoboer 22nd is Wombat Observation Day.