Wombat Facts Part 3
Marsupials are the dominant group of animals that are found in Australia, although some species may also be found in North and South America as well as in New Guinea. About 334 species of marsupials are known to exist out of which 200 are native to Australia.
What do Wombats eat?
Wombats are herbivorous animals and they mainly eat grasses, roots, herbs and barks. Their metabolism rate is very slow, about 14 days. Since they take a long time to digest their food Wombats can survive in arid conditions too.
Digestive system of Wombats:
Wombats have a very slow metabolism rate as their diet is rich in fiber but low in protein. Thus they have a poor diet and need to conserve their energy .Digesting the food for a long time allows them to absorb all the nutrients from their food. Also the hairy Wombats do not drink much water and the water they drink mainly comes from their food itself.
Where do Wombats stay?
Wombats live in burrows. They are very shy animals who sleep for about 18 hours in the day and venture out only in the evening or night. This fact also makes them difficult animals to study. Wombat faeces called scats have a unique smell and the Wombats keep these scats purposely outside their burrows in order to facilitate easy identification of burrows.
Can Wombats be tamed?
Although naturally wild, Wombats can be tamed. You might even persuade it to be held and touched. In fact many zoos in Australia have put these Wombats on public display. Seemingly calm and gentle Wombats can become very aggressive if provoked or if they are in a bad mood. Due to their weight they are perfectly capable of knocking over an average adult human being.
Wombats give severe damage to the profession of farmers. They destroy farmer’s crops and fences and the burrows of wombats hurt a farmer’s cattle if the cattle accidentally steps into it. Furthermore, rabbits get inside the burrows, which cause further destruction to the crops. All these things infuriates the farmers and they, therefore hunt them, trap them and poison them, resulting in the reduction and evacuation of the population of Wombats. Moreover, since many wombats are vulnerable, they are often killed by coming under a car.
Animals which are enemies of Wombats
If we talk about enemies of the wombats among the animals, Dingoes are on top. Other animals that pose a threat to these wombats are Tasmanian Devils, Tasmanian wolves and foxes. However, younger wombats are more exposed to danger of being killed as Eagles, Owls and Eastern quolls can easily hunt them. Further enemies of these wombats include the feral cats and domesticated dogs.
How different animals affect them
Feral cats effects wombats by transmitting diseases to them.
Mange, a parasitic mite, kills wombats by entering through their skins. The mange is spread by foxes when they take shelter in the burrows of wombats. Young and injured wombats are more prone to die by the mange. Under stressed wombats are more likely to be affected. Wombat killings by mange are on a very high rate.
Apart from this, wombats face food shortages. There are many rabbits and cattle which create food shortages for these wombats. Furthermore, when cattle step on a burrow, they not only break their own leg but they destroy the burrow as well. Many areas now protect wombats but still there are few areas where wombats are killed.
Wombats dig burrows and are pretty much dexterous at it. Their burrows are very technically dug and are about 10 to 100 feet long. Their burrows are about 20 inches wide and may accommodate a wombat easily, giving them enough room to turn around as well.
How they build these burrows
Wombats use their front claws to dig the burrows. The hind feet are then used to push the loose soil backward. Hindrances in the burrows like roots etc are removed by their incisors. Being adroit at this job, they dig their burrows hastily.
Purposes of their Burrows:
Short burrows, usually about 6 feet long, are used to hide or evade.
Long burrows are used for sleeping purposes. The sleeping chamber is situated 6 – 12 meters away from the entrance of the burrows and is at a higher level than the entrance. These burrows are technically built with many entrances and side tunnels.
A burrow is built so that it gives protection against warm weather in warm season and against cold weather in cold season. The burrows also have a controlled temperature and oxygen level.
Most of the time of the wombats in summers is spent inside the burrows to get rid of the heat. Moreover, in summers wombats dig a depression beside the tree trunk to rest in the shade. The burrows are fire proof as well.
Common wombats dig simple burrows with usually one entrance as they prefer to live alone. On the other hand hairy-nosed wombats have burrows with side channels and many entrances.
Places Wombats can Live
Wombats are one of the cutest creatures one could see in the wildlife. The very first thing comes in mind when we see a wombat that I must pet it in my home. But they are not good pets, as homes are not suitable place to keep the wombats. Their habits do not match with habits of those animals we prefer to keep as pets.
Places Suitable for wombats
Wombats are more comfortable on the open places as compare to homes and cages and tree houses. The best places for wombats are woodlands and more preferred semi arid open woodlands. As their basic food is native grass so, it best to keep them at their native place that is woodlands keeping them at some other place would affect their eating habits.
The main reason behind the fact that the wombats could not live well at some other place than their native, place is their sensitive and slow metabolism. Their metabolism is about 60 to 70 percent slower as compare to normal metabolism so, they could eat and digest very selective things which make very selective places suitable for their living.
Common wombats are more likely to live at heath, open woodland and costal scrub. These are mainly habitats of Eucalypt forest, as it eats native grass, bushes and tree roots.
Southern hairy nose wombats live at scrubland, heath and acacia and Eucalypt woodland. Their preferred diet is young shots of the native grass.
Northern hairy nose wombats purely lives on native grass so, the best place these wombats are live is open woodlands and semi arid woodlands.
Different Characteristics of Wombats
The Giant Wombat
The giant wombat is the biggest marsupial animal. These animals are also known as Australian Megafauna.
Australian megafaunas cannot be found now. But some are still living. Among these are- Kangaroo, Wombat, and Dingo etc.
The giant wombats are 10feet long and have a weight about 2786kg. Due to their physical appearance they looked like a rhinoceros. The giant wombats were discovered in the early 1830 in New South Wales.
Common wombats are able to deliver several types of sounds. The hairy nosed wombats can also make many sounds but not as much as their common counterparts.
During the mating season, the wombats are more vocal. The make a hissing sound to show anger.
Wombats can also make a grunting noise or a clicking noise. They can also make a rumbling noise to show anger.
The child wombats interact with their mother with a sort of hissing sound. Wombats can even make a snoring sound while sleeping.
Wombats generally sleep on their back, with the feet upward. The perfectly get fitted in their place of shelter, usually a hole.
Wombats also sleep in a curled up position. Wombats sleep in this position to keep them warm. Wombats even snore during sleep like human beings.
Wombats are the main source of attractions in the zoo in Australia. These furry animals are very cute in their appearance.
Wombats have short legs and a very small tail. The origin of wombats is mainly the forest and mountain areas of Australia.
A Few FACTS about Wombats
Small yet powerful creatures
Wombats use their claws to dig burrows in open grasslands and eucalyptus forests. They live in these burrows, which can become extensive tunnel-and-chamber complexes.
Common wombats are solitary and inhabit their own burrows, while other species may be more social and live together in larger burrow groups called colonies.
Wombats are nocturnal and emerge to feed at night on grasses, roots, and bark. They have rodent like incisors that never stop growing and are gnawed down on some of their tougher vegetarian fare.
Why they are endangered?
The field and pasture damage caused by wombat burrowing can be a destructive nuisance to ranchers and farmers.
Wombats have been hunted for this behaviour, as well as for their fur and simply for sport. Some species (the northern hairy-nosed wombats) are now critically endangered, while others (the common or coarse-haired wombat) are still hunted as vermin.
Space for all wombats is at a premium as farm and ranch lands increasingly replace natural space.
Some cool facts about wombats are as follows:
The average wombat is about 1 meter (40 inches) long and weighs about 25 kg.
Wombats can live from about 5 years to over 30 years.
Wombats can be anything from a sandy colour to brown or black to grey.
They live in large burrows up to 30 meters (100 feet) long.
They eat mainly grasses and roots and are nocturnal grazers.
The Wombat – One of the Heaviest Mammals in the World
The Wombat’s Weight
Physically, wombats are very chubby actually they are fat. That’s why there’s some rumor that they use wombat fat to make butter. Which is not true at all.
Believe it or not, though wombats are not that tall, they’re one of the heaviest mammals in the world. That’s why wombats are husky, chubby and fat. They appear very husky too because of their thick fur.
An adult wombat’s weight is roughly equivalent to a man who’s 6’2″ in height. That’s how heavy they can get and they can still gain some more.
That’s why wombats are very strong animals. They are described and or also known as mini bulldozers. Because when they ram a human they can knock it unconscious. They do the same thing with fences. And that’s why farmers treat wombats as pests and nuisances. They have very powerful limbs, perfect for digging extensive burrows.
Female wombats appear to be fatter than male wombats. Because female wombats have an extra layer of fat in their body. This extra fat keep their selves warm which is ideal when a female wombat is pregnant.
An adult wombat’s weight ranges to 170 pounds and higher.
The Wombat’s Teeth
Wombats are Australian marsupials. This article is about the wombat’s teeth.
The wombat’s teeth is important to a wombat, like with every other animal with their teeth. A wombat’s daily diet is composed of roots, grasses, herbs, juicy stems and or sedges. At times, there are roots, stems and sedges that are very tough and fibrous. The wombat’s teeth is sharp enough to chew through all these.
Though a wombat’s teeth is sharp, there are just some situations or instances that they can help but lose a tooth or 2. But they don’t need to worry about that.
One unique and versatile characteristic of a wombat is that their teeth grow back if they lose any all throughout their lives. If a wombat accidentally lose a tooth, it’ll just grow back again. That’s why they are naturally inquisitive, they don’t need to worry if they lose or break a tooth. They can bite through any stuff and not worry if they’ll lose a tooth or not. Because they’ll just grow back, easily.
This characteristic really fits the wombat. Because with their lifestyle it’s very fitting. Since they have to chew through fibrous roots, stems and or sedges. They don’t have to be cautious with what they put in their mouths or about to chew.
A wombat’s incisor teeth is similar to a placental rodent. Their dental formula is 184.108.40.206 over 220.127.116.11. Their incisors are sharp and are primarily used to tear down the stuff that they put inside their mouths.
A wombat also uses it’s teeth to bite it’s attacker. And yes, the wombat’s teeth are indeed very strong and sharp. One reported incident of a wombat attack and the victim is a man. The wombat was able to bite through thick denim, woolen sock and a rubber boot and still succeeded in injuring the man with very deep punctured wounds.
That’s why, you should never under estimate the power and uniqueness of the wombat’s teeth.
The Wombat’s Scat
In wombat terms, a scat refers to a wombat’s feces. With the wombat’s scat it just shows how unique an animal a wombat is.
A wombat scat is cubic in shape it ranges in size to be 2-3 inches. It can be mistaken to be a brownie or a chocolate nugget. But this is not the main reason why womabat’s feces is unique. What’s unique about the wombat’s scat is that it has a distinctive smell. The scent of a wombat’s scat is unique to the wombat who have produced it.
The reason why a wombat’s scat has a unique and distinctive smell is because of their poor eyesight. As we all know by now wombats are nocturnal animals and at the same time they have poor eyesight. When they go out at night to look for food, it’s hard for them to identify which is their own burrow, once they come back from looking for food. Since all burrows look all the same. Here’s where the scar plays an important role. Wombats leave their scats beside or near their burrow’s entrance. And because each wombat scat has a unique smell and only the owner knows the distinctive smell, they are able to identify if it’s their burrow or not by smelling the scat located beside the burrow’s entrance. In that way, they will not get lost or go inside the wrong burrow and be able to find their own burrow.
That’s how unique a wombat is. Up to their scat or feces, it’s still unique.
The Wombat’s Claws
The wombat’s claws are important to a wombat. They have a lot of use. A wombat has 4 toes and each toe has 5- slightly curved black, thick claws, that are 2-3 inches long.
The claws are used for defensive and burrowing purposes. Since wombats are known to be burrowing animals, it is essential for them to dig everyday. Because a wombat’s daily life is mainly composed of digging, eating and sleeping.
If you can notice, the wombats’ claws are thick and are slightly curved. They are thick and curved because they have to adapt with the wombat’s lifestyle. They are very appropriate for digging. They act like mini shovels and are very reliable and fit for digging. Wombats are able to dig extensive burrows, effectively and efficiently because of their claws. Their claws also give them stable and secure footing. Because their claws give them support.
Another use for their claws is for their defense mechanism. When they are attacked by humans, their response is to either bite or scratch them with their sharp claws. a result of being “clawed” by a wombat are deep punctured wounds or at times skin trauma caused by the wounds. They can easily tear through fabrics/cloth and be able to scratch and claw their attacker. But unlike their teeth, their claws don’t grow back. But it’s very unlikely that they’ll lose a claw.
It’s also not advisable to cut a wombat’s claw like what you would do to you own finger nails or toe nails. The wombat’s claw is thick and has sensitive nerves inside. That’s why, a wombat claw should not be cut or trimmed because it can cause health risks to the wombat.