Wombats are marsupials that are predominantly found in Australia. These are short, bear-like, furry and chubby creature having teeth like placental rodents which can be regrown if broken due to chewing of tough vegetation. These are crepuscular or nocturnal creatures and they are active either at twilight or at night. They mostly remain in their burrows as they cannot tolerate high temperatures and can even die due to excessive heat. There are three living species of Wombats and I shall tell you something about them.
Species of Wombats:
The living species of Wombats are as follows:
Queensland or Northern hairy-nosed Wombat
Southern hairy-nosed Wombat
What is the Common Wombat?
The Common Wombat which is also called the Coarse-haired Wombat has an average size of 98cm and a weight of 26kgs. It is found mainly in the eastern and southern parts of Australia which are comparatively cooler and more watered parts. The Common Wombat weighs about 20-40 kilograms and its head and body measure up to 100cm. It can breed every two years.
What is the Northern hairy-nosed Wombat?
The Northern hairy-nosed Wombat, also called the Yaminon, is found mainly in South Wales, Victoria and Queensland and is a critically endangered species. These are slightly larger than the Common Wombat and can give birth to two joeys every two years. Their nose is of critical importance to them as they are poor-sighted and need to smell their food in the dark.
What is the Southern hairy-nosed Wombat?
These are the smallest Wombats found mainly in the dry grasslands in the Southern part of Australia. It is enlisted as a vulnerable species and it is believed that scanty rainfall is the cause of unsuccessful breeding of this species.
The world has classified wombats into different species, among them; the two basic types of classifications of Wombats are Hairy – nosed wombats and common wombats. This article will increase your knowledge about common wombats.
Description About common Wombats:
Common wombats are known by various names like Coarse haired wombat, Forest wombat, Naked Nose Wombat etc. Common wombats are usually found in the southern regions of Australia and Tasmania where the temperature is cooler and the terrain is hilly and mountainous.
Common Wombats are:
35 to 45 inches in length.
About 14 inches in height.
Of 48 to 86 pounds. Their weight depends on how big or small wombat is.
Their heads are in a more rounded shape than the hairy-nosed wombats.
Their face is marked by a bare, shiny black nose with granular skin and small rounded and triangular shaped ears. They have coarse, thick and bristle-like fur.
Their fur is longer than other wombats which suit the colder and wetter climate in which they live.
They usually have sandy or yellowish color but their colour may also be brown or black, depending on the colour of the dirt they dig.
The population density of common wombats in favourable conditions ranges from 0.3 to 0.5 per hectare.
They may form colonies and visit each others tunnels. Being territorial, they have a feature to mark their home range and to reach there by smelling it. Common wombats are usually at risk because they are unprotected therefore steps should be taken to protect them.
The Different Species of Wombats
The extremely cute and adorable wombats are found in Australia. This large, pudgy mammal is a marsupial, or pouched animal also usually found on nearby scattered islands.
Claws and Tooth
Wombats have long claws that are adapted for digging, and they live in burrows, from which they emerge at night to feed on grasses and other plants.
The teeth of wombats are of continuous growth, and, a single pair of chisel like incisors is found in each jaw.
There are three species of Wombats (all only found in Australia):
The common –
It is distinguishably from its cousins the Southern, and Northern Hairy nosed wombats mainly by its nose which is naked, smaller ears and a more rounded head and longer fur due to its living in the colder regions of Australia.
These are strong, stout, sturdy and can move most things in their way. Adult wombats weigh in between 17kg and 40kg in a body length of between 80 cm and 130 cm with the males being a bit larger than the females.
Northern Hairy Nosed –
It is Australia’s most endangered mammal and is found in New South Wales and Victoria.
However it now survives only in a small national park near the Epping Forest Station in tropical Queensland.
This wombat grows up to a height of 80 to 100 centimetres and its tail is 3 to 5 centimetres in length. They weigh up to 50 kilos, the female counterparts being heavier than the male one.
Southern Hairy Nosed-
This wombat is South Australia’s state emblem. Its main difference in looks to the common wombat is that it has a broader nose is covered in fine hairs, which is smaller, has larger more pointy ears and its grey fur is silkier to the touch.
These wombats are found in locations which are generally semi arid to arid, and include grass plains, as well as savannas, coastal dunes and/or small scattered shrubs.
As we all know by now, there are 3 species of Wombats. Among these 3 species, 2 of them are hairy-nosed varieties. They are Northern Hairy-nosed wombat also known as Yaminon and the Southern Hairy-nosed wombat. They are called Hairy-nosed because they have hairy-noses.
The Northern Hairy-nosed wombat is found across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. The Yaminon is one of the rarest large mammal in the world and is now classified to be critically endangered. The Northern Hairy-nosed wombat is slightly larger than the Common Wombat. The reason why it’s critically endangered now is because it’s habitat has become infested with African Buffel grass which out-competes the native grasses that this hairy-nosed wombat prefers eating. Their noses are very important for their daily survival because they have very poor eyesight, they can only smell their food in the dark.
The name Northern Hairy-nosed wombat comes from it’s distinctive muzzle which is covered with short brown hairs. As a result this specie, have a hairy-nose.
Hairy Nosed Wombat
The second hairy-nosed wombat is the Southern Hairy-nosed wombat. This specie is the smallest among the other wombat species at around 775-935 mm and weighs 20-32 kg, because of these physical traits the young often do not survive the dry season. It is well-adapted to it’s harsh environment where it must survive without water in high temperatures. This specie lives in extensive warrens where the atmosphere is cool and humid during daytime. It’s body temperature falls to conserve both energy and water.
The Southern Hairy-nosed wombat is often likened to a large badger, it is also considered to resemble a bear and a pig. The fur of this wombat covers it’s entire body, including the nose, hence it’s name.
As we all know by now, wombats all came from Australia or they are native of Australia. Particularly in the Victoria and Tasmania area. Wombats were often called badgers by early Australian settlers. They’re often mistaken to be badgers because of their close resemblance physically and their habits. For this reason, individual villages such as Badger Creek in Victoria and Badger Corner in Tasmania were actually named after the wombat. But since they often mistook wombats to be badgers, that’s why they are named after the badger instead but still their real intentions are to name this villages after the wombat.
There’s a town in New South Wales called Wombat, which is obviously named after the marsupial. The Asteroid 6827 Wombat- a soccer team in Brisbane and L6 W.O.M.B.A.T., a British anti-tank rifle are all named after the Wombat animal. That’s how amazing wombats are, that they used them to name things with.
Australian Wombats, can be tamed in a captive situation and can even be persuaded into being petted, touched or held and there’s a possibility that they can become quite friendly but one wrong move can easily startle these creatures and attack you in an instant.
There are many zoos, wildlife parks and tourists destinations across Australia that have Wombats available on public display or are available for the public and they’re quite popular. However, wombats lack fear. It means that they may display acts of aggression when they are provoked or if they are simply in a bad mood. It’s weight makes a charging wombat capable of knocking down an adult. Like how a football player tackle it’s opponent. Their very sharp teeth and powerful jaws can result in severe to critically serious wounds.
According to records, there is one reported incident of a wombat attack. The victim’s name is Harry Frauca, a naturalist. He received a 2cm deep bite into his leg, the bite is made through a rubber boot, pants and thick wool socks.
That’s how fierce a wombat can get. They may appear cute and unharmful, but when disturbed, startled and removed from their natural habitat or surroundings, they be violent. But not all the time, though. There are several animal shows, that features a wombat-human companionship. It shows that if a wombat is trained or is used to being around humans it can be a gentle and a loyal pet.
The Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat is one of the 3 species of wombats. It’s scientific name is Lasiorhinus latifrons. They are mainly found in scattered areas of semi-arid scrub and mallee from the Eastern Nullarbor Plain to the New South Wales border area.
Among the other wombats, the Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat is the smallest, at only around 775 to 935 millimeter and 20 to 32 kilograms and the young oftentimes don’t survive the dry seasons. They are classified as vulnerable by animal authorities. Though a healthy population still remains, it appears to declining as the days go by. It is feared that the consistently sparse rainfall of recent years has prevented successful breeding. Most likely this sparse rainfall is caused by the climate change. It takes 3 consecutive good seasons for a Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat to reach near adulthood which will make them sexually mature, ready for mating.
There are wombat specialists who are specially concerned that with the continious or continuation of this current trend to drier climate in Southern Australia could be a serious threat.
Their tails are 2.5-6 centimeter long.
The oldest Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats to ever walk the Earth were a male and female from Brooksfield Zoo outside Chicago, USA. They were Carver (male) who lived till 34 years old and Vicky (female) who lived till 24 years old.
It’s range is much wider before European settlement . It is well adapted to it’s harsh environment where it must survive without water in high temperatures . They mainly live in extensive warrens where the environment is cool and humid during the hot daytime. The wombat’s body temperature drops to conserve both water and energy. Their resting metabolic rate is much slower than the other wombat species. Their food is thorougly grinded-up and passes very slowly to their digestive tract, this process takes 8 days for maximum nutrient extraction.
Southern Hairy Nosed Wombat Picture
Their burrow system is more social compared to other wombat species. Their burrow system is composed of 5 to 10 wombats consisting of both sexes, living together. Their warren system is composed of a central set of burrows which is often occupied by males and smaller warren within 150 meter radius where females reside for varying time-period. The Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats’ breeding is more seasonal comapred to other wombat species. And male aggressive behavior is restricted to that season only. Their youngs are usually born between September to December and they spend the next 6 to 9 months in the mother wombat’s pouch. For this particular specie, sexual maturity occurs at about 3 years of age. It requires a minimum of 3 good seasons to increase their population.
Like other wombat specie, they have similarities with their physical appearance. It is a squat-quadruped with short, thick limbs that are equipped with short fattened claws, it’s tail is shorter than the other species. They also have a large, broad head, that has small eyes and pointed ears. The two incisors on the upper and lower jaws fit together fro gnawing are chiseled and they have enamel on the front surfaces with no canines present. These wombats also have a large diastema separating the incisors and cheek teeth. There are also cheek pouches present. They are also often likened to a large Badger, they are also considered to resemble a bear and a pig.
The fur of the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat covers it’s entire body including their noses, hence it’s name.
Though they appear slow going/movers, these marsupials have been known to play with limitless energy. Their strenght and reports of their ability to run at the speed of approximately 40 kmh have earned them the nickname “Bulldozers of the Bush” as they have the ability to trample down any obstacle in their path. This specie is also mainly nocturnal, feeding on grasses, roots, sedges, bark and fungi which are highly fibrous and low in water and protein.
The female specie of this kind has 2 nipples. Though 2 offsprings are sometimes born, there is usually only 1 birth. It remains in the mother’s pouch for 6 to 9 months. After exiting the pouch, the offspring follows it’s mother for nearky another year and tends to play biting games.
Southern Hairy Nosed Wombat
Like most wild wombats they can be expected to live up to 5 years or more while those in captivity have lived up to 20 years. It is likely that only a Dingo could take an adult wombat and the only other animal that can possibly be able to harm a small wombat is a Wedge-Tail Eagle. They also tend to be frequent victims of car accidents due to their nocturnal habits and slowness.
A Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat is also known as or called a Yaminon. It is one of the three living species of Wombats. It was found and discovered across the areas of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland as recently as 100 years ago. But now, it’s restricted to a 3 kilometer square range within the 30 kilometer square Epping Forest National Park in Queensland.
The Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat, is one of the rarest mammals in the world and is now considered to be critically endangered. It is slightly larger than the Common Wombat and able to breed faster in a way than the Common Wombat. They’re able to produce 2 youngs every 3 years.
Their habitat has become infested with African Buffel Grass which out-competes the native grasses the Yaminon prefers to eat. To protect the Yaminons (Northern Hairy-nosed Wombats), a 2 meter high predator & intruder proof fence was constructed around 25 kilometer square feet of the park in 2000, though captive breeding and translocation programs have been abandoned for the time being because the population in the remaining Yaminon colony is considered to be too small to allow safe removal of the 15 to 20 individual wombats needed to start a new wild colony and because more than a decade of captive breeding research with Common and Southern Hairy-Nosed wombats has produced only a handful of successful births.
Australian Northern Hairy Nose Wombat
A Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat is 35 cm in height and up to 1 meter long. They can weigh up to 40 kilograms. The female wombat specie of this kind are a little bit bigger than the males because they have an extra layer of fat. This specie of wombats are mainly found in Central Queensland. It’s diet is composed of course grass and various types of roots.
They are nearly extinct because there are only 40-60 left in all Australia. Their noses are very important for their daily survival because they have very poor eyesight. They mainly rely on their sense of smell.
It takes about a whole day for a Yaminon to dig a burrow with their very sharp claws. They mainly live in dry, grassy regions of Australia. This kind of wombat uses it’s burrow to control it’s body temperature and as well as their surroundings. By staying in it’s burrow during the day, the wombat keeps cool and conserves or saves water in the summer time and it stays warm during the winter time.
The name Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat comes from it’s distinctive muzzle which is covered with short brown hairs. It’s physique is string and heavily built with short, stubby but powerful legs and strong claws. It’s fur is very soft, silky and mainly brown-mottled gray or fawn and black in color. It has a broad head with black patches around their eyes. Their ears are long and slightly pointed with tufts of white hair on the edges.
Queensland Northern Hairy Nosed Wombats
Northern Hairy-nosed Wombats sleep in their burrows the whole day. They are shy animal, that’s why most of the time they are solitary and only go out during night time, but there are times and instances when they share burrows with other wombats.
This specie of wombats give birth to a young during the wet season which is around November to April. They’re found in one place in the world, in the semi-arid woodland and grassland on sandy soil in Epping Forest National Park in Central Queensland. Because they are already critically endangered, a major recovery program is underway to help save this wombat specie. It is funded by the Queensland Government. It involves major research, management and maintenance programs and includes intensive studies of the wombat’s genetic make-up, reproduction, behavior & habits and it’s diet. The management aims to improve the quality and diversity of grasses available to wombats.
The Common Wombat is also known as the “Coarse-Haired” Wombat. It is one of the three species of wombats and the only one in the Vombatus genus.
The common wombat is widespread in the cooler and better watered parts of Southern and Eastern Australia, including Tasmania and in the mountainous districts as far as the North and South of Queensland, but its appearance declines in Western Victoria.
A Common Wombat in the Wild near Queanbeyan N.S.W. (Australia)
The Common Wombat can breed every 2 years and can produce a single joey (young) which leaves the backward facing pouch after 9-11 months. They weigh between 3.5-6.5 kilograms. The joey is weaned and trained at around 12-15 months of age and is independent by 18 months of age.
The Bass Strait sub-specie or the Vombatus ursinus ursinus is only found in Flinders Island, which is located in the North of Tasmania.
Common Wombat, population was estimated to be 4,000 in 1996 and is now listed to be vulnerable.