Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat
Australian Southern Hairy Nosed Wombats
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.