Wombats are small bear-like, cute-looking muscular quadrupeds that are native to Australia. Seemingly gentle and suitable to be kept as pets, they can be very stubborn and aggressive creatures. However there are certain misconceptions about Wombats that I would like to discuss in this article.
Myth: Wombats are rodents/moles and they behave like them
Truth: Wombats are marsupials (mammals with a pouch) and hence very different from rodents. They are the closest relatives of Koala. Human negativity towards rodents and the myth that Wombats are rodents have led to their mismanagement.
Myth: Wombats didn’t exist earlier.
Truth: Wombats need a habitat that allows numerous burrows and they prefer to eat native grasses. Wombats were found all over Australia but now due to environmental degradation and human activity their population has shifted mainly to the coastal regions.
Myth: There is a sudden population explosion of Wombats in the Bega Valley Shire
Truth: The Common Wombats can reproduce only once in about 2-3 years and they mostly give birth to a single baby. Although it is technically possible for a Wombat to reproduce annually they do not get pregnant while they are lactating. Also they do not breed if they have not established a large enough territory. Thus Wombats can’t really have population explosions.
Myth: Wombats cause excessive soil erosion
Truth: Wombats do cause soil erosion but that is minimal as compared to other factors like over-grazing, fire, felling of trees, etc. Many researches seem to indicate that Wombats actually benefit the soil processes.
Myth: Wombats are a menace in the farmland and difficult to control
Truth: Wombats are actually intelligent creatures and they can be trained about electric fences.
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.
In this article I shall tell you about a small little furry creature called the Wombat which I discovered recently. Wombats are Australian marsupials belonging to the family Vombatidae. Kangaroos, koalas, possums, bandicoots are other marsupials that you may have heard of. Wombats are short creatures with sturdy bodies and strong limbs that facilitate digging of burrows. To know more about the feature possessed by these animals read on.
Characteristic traits of Wombats:
Wombats are mainly crepuscular (active during twilight) and nocturnal animals .However they might come out of their burrows on cool or cloudy days.
Wombats are herbivorous creatures and their diet comprises of grasses, herbs, roots, stems and barks .They have incisors that are mainly adapted to chew vegetation. Their strong teeth also help them in digging burrows.
Like koalas Wombats also have a backward facing pouch that ensure no dirt enters it while they are busy digging their burrows.
Wombats keep their undeveloped young that they produce after a gestation period of about 26-28 days in their pouch for about 6-7 months during which the mother nurses it. After the lactation period ends the weaning starts at about the 15th month and they become sexually mature at about 18months from birth.
Wombats have thick, soft fur whose color can vary from sandy to brown and grey to black.
There are three known species of Wombats and most of them weigh between 20-30 kilograms and are about a meter in length.
Species of Wombats:
There are 3 species of Wombats. They are:
Northern hairy-nosed Wombat
Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat
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.
Know how do Wombats Survive
Have you ever seen an animal that would look like a little bear? You want t see one? Let’s look at the world of wombats. It might not be that familiar since wombats are living mostly in Australian territories. Here are some quick actualities about wombats and their diet.
Wombats are marsupials wherein they carry their young in a pouch
Hunt, live and play by day and rest by night
They can dig onto the ground using their long claws and front teeth
Lived in a large hole
Life span is from 5 years to more than 30 years
Herbivores in which the only eat grass, herb and alike
There are two kinds of wombats, namely common wombat and hairy-nosed wombat
Wombats are absolutely herbivores and they love to eat roots grasses, fungi like puffballs and mushrooms, bushes and trees, inner bark of some trees, leaves, shrubs, marsh plants and mosses. Although these two kinds are both herbivorous their food selection varies a lot.
The common wombats’ diet consists of the snow tussock grass and in addition moss is its favorite.
They also look for foods by the side of the seashore and sometimes they eat the vegetables from nearby farms.
Hairy-nosed wombat can be classified as southern and northern hairy-nosed wombat.
Southern hairy-nosed wombat like better the perennial grasses
Northern hairy-nosed wombat loves to eat spear, poa and tussock grasses
Diet of a wombat is nutritionally poor thus they need to conserve energy by having slow metabolic rate. Even if that’s the case, their digestive system is very much efficient.
There was once a warren, where Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats lived. Among these wombats lived a mother and a young little wombat. A young boy named, Bradly.
Bradly lives with his mother and is currently being weaned by his mom. They live contentedly in the warren, doing their daily stuff together. Enjoying their simple wombat lives, together. Bradly, is a fun, young and a loving wombat specially to his mom.
In the meanwhile, there are a group of men- Animal fur hunters and they are in search of wombats. The wombats living in the warren did not have any idea that they’re being watched and observed by these hunters, all day long. And now, that they’ve observed enough they are ready to attack the warren.
One tragic morning, while all the wombats are sleeping, the hunters attacked the warren. Using equipment to help them dig the burrows. They got every single wombat, except for the one little wombat, Bradly.
Bradly was able to escape and hide in some bushes nearby. He have witnessed the capture of his mother and the rest of the other wombats.
Bradly is alone amd he asked his self, “Where I will go now?”, “What should I do?” He cried and whimper, thinking very much about his mother. Bradly stopped crying and decided to follow the tire tracks that the hunters left. But it was too late, the wind already blew away most of the tire tracks and are already unrecognizable.
The young wombat, walked and walked searching for places where he can find someone to help him. But with all the walking, Bradly became tired and fell asleep under a tree.
Night falls, and Bradly was awaken by loud rustling sounds. He woke up and saw a wombat- a common wombat eating on some grass patch. He hurriedly walked towards the wombat and quickly introduced his self, “Hello, I’m Bradly. I’m kind of lost, I just lost my mom this morning. Can you help me?”, the common wombat answered, “Sorry, I don’t talk to someone who’s not my kind” and left poor Bradly. But Bradly was not shaken, instead he followed the common wombat, who walked back to his warren.
Bradly watched the wombat from some bushes nearby. He feels very helpless and is longing for someone to be with, like a mother. He watched them very closely and something caught his eye. A weeping wombat. A mother wombat. Bradly’s eyes sparkled. Bradly, went back to the grass patch where he met the common wombat. He realized that he was so hungry and ate and ate away. He was planning to go back to the warren where he saw the mother common wombat.
While chomping some grass away, Bradly was startled when he turned around he was surprised to see that the mother common wombat was also on the grass patch. The mother wombat gently asked Bradly, “Hi, there! What are you doing here alone?”. Bradly answered the mother wombat, “I lost my mom and the rest of wombats who live in the same warren where my mom and I live. The hunters took all of them.”
Bradly can’t help but cry again. He told the mother wombat, that he’s scared and don’t know what to do.
The mother wombat said, “By the way my name is Lisa, and I am here to help you if you want. You can stay with me for the meantime, together we will continue your training.”
And Bradly answered, “Really? You’d do that for me?”. Lisa answered, “Yes, I will. My daughter just recently left and is just starting to live on her own and I do admit I miss her. It’ll be really nice to have you around.”
Bradly: Than you very much, Lisa. I’m looking forward to my training. But I’m afraid, the wombats from your warren won’t like me and won’t allow me to live with you.
Lisa: Don’t be foolish my dear. I’ll take care of you and won’t let anything like that happen.
Bradly: I’ve seen a young wombat here too, and I’ve asked for some help but he told me that he won’t help anyone who’s not the same kind as he is.
Lisa: Pay no attention to that young common wombat. Come on! If you’re ready and had enough grass, let’s go back to my burrow and I’ll introduce you the rest of the warren dwellers.
Bradly, excitedly followed Lisa towards the warren. And once they’ve arrived, wombats came out of their burrows to examine the unwanted guest. Wombats of all ages, started to murmer about different things about Bradly. And Lisa noticed that Bradly is close to crying again. So Lisa said, “Stop, my fellow wombats. I have here on my side, Bradly a wombat like us. He just recently lost his mom and their warren is devastated and have nowhere to go to.”
A group of wombats said, “But why do you have to take him in? He is not like us.”
Lisa: Yes, he may be different than us. But as wombat to a wombat a very big part of me wants to help him. And as a mother, I feel sad for him. And now, if you don’t like him, just leave the 2 of us alone and we’ll get out of your way.
Lisa showed Bradly the way to her burrow. And the 2 of them slept soundly till the night comes. Bradly woke up and was looking for Lisa.
Bradly: Lisa? Lisa?
Bradly went out of their burrow and searched for Lisa outside. And he saw the young wombat he have came acrossed the grass patch the other day, and his name is Spike.
Bradly: Lisa? Lisa?
Spike: Will you stop making noise?
Bradly: Oh, I’m sorry if I was too loud. I was just wondering if you’ve seen Lisa.
Spike: Well, I did see her. And she went that way.
Bradly: Thank you, Spike.
Spike left and so did Bradly. Bradly went straight to the grass patch to look for Lisa. And there he found Lisa, sniffing around some roots.
Bradly: Lisa! I was looking for you. I woke up and you were not there.
Lisa: I’m sorry, my young one. I was waiting for you to wake up but since you are very tired and still sleeping. I’ve decided to go out and go here.
Bradly: I’ve asked Spike, if he saw you and he told me that you went this way. What we’ll we do tonight?
Lisa: First, we have to eat first and then I’ll tell you what’ll we do.
So the two different wombats ate until they’re stuffed.
Lisa: First thing on our agenda for tonight is a dust bath. You’re quite dirty Bradly. I’ll teach you how to do it.
Bradly: Yes, I kind of stink already.
The mother wombat showed the young Southern Hairy-nosed wombat how to do it. After that they continue on how to dig a complete burrow and once they’re finished with all the wombat stuff they’ve lay around in the dirt and scratched each other.
Bradly: Lisa, thank you. Thank you, for taking me in.
Lisa: You are welcome, my little one. I’m more than happy to do it for you.
Bradly: Do you think it’s bad that I’m from a different kind?
Lisa: Bradly, it’s not bad. Each and every one of us is created differently and we all have our special traits in us. Just like what you are. You are special my little one.
Bradly: Do you think I’ll see my mom again?
Lisa: That I can’t tell. But as long as you hold on that special memory that you have of your mom, she’ll always be with you.
Bradly, smiled and hugged Lisa. Now, the 2 wombats walked in their burrow to rest.
Months went by as Bradly grows up and continues living his wombat life with Lisa and the rest of the common wombats. The common wombats are becoming less and less hostile towards the young Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat.
Bradly moved out of Lisa’s burrow because he’s already old enough to live on his own. But one day, he and Lisa had a talk.
Lisa: My little one, I have some news for you.
Bradly: Lisa! I’m not a little one anymore.
Lisa: Yes, I know that for a fact. But for me, you’ll always be my little one.
Bradly: Thanks, Lisa. What’s the news that you have for me?
Lisa: Oh, yes. I’m expecting another baby anytime soon, my little one.
Bradly: That is great news Lisa. I’m very happy.
Bradly left and ate alone in their favorite grass patch and done some thinking. I’m old enough to live on my own. I want to go and search for wombats of my kind. And maybe meet someone special. I know, everyone here accepts me, but inside of me I still feel incomplete. I guess, I have to go out on my own. With a heavy feeling inside his chest, Bradly went back to his burrow to sleep.
The next night, Bradly looked for Lisa to tell her about his plans.
Bradly: Lisa, I’m leaving tonight.
Lisa: Where to, my little one?
Bradly: I will search for a place where I can find wombats of my kind.
Lisa: But you are already welcomed here.
Bradly: I know, but I want to find out where I came from, I want to find that certain special one and really live on my own.
Lisa: Well, my little one go ahead. Go out and see the world. I’m happy that you have grown up to be a nice and responsible wombat. But always remember that you are always welcome to go back here.
Bradly: Thank you Lisa. Thanks for everything, I won’t ever forget you and all the things you’ve taught me.
Lisa: You will always be here in my heart. Now, you take care my little one.
Bradly, said goodbye to the rest of the common wombats. And went on his way. Bradly’s journey went on for weeks and for months. Until one day he have reached a warren that the thought was deserted. But was surprised when he saw a wombat that looks exactly like him coming out of a burrow. He was welcomed in no time, and immediately started his new life with the wombats of his kind.
Bradly, felt very happy. He looked up to the heavens and thought about his mom, Lisa and his adventures. Bradly said to his self: “I’m finally home, and can’t be more happy.”
Bradly, lived and still living his days happily and peacefully and he did met that someone special. The one that his heart longs for.
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 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.
When you look at a wombat, all you can think about is that it’s cute, furry, looks like a stuffed toy and only eats grasses and is defenseless. But the truth is, a wombat is not defenseless at all. Believe it or not the automobile (any kind) is the wombat’s worst nightmare. Wombats are nocturnals and because of this they go out at night and one more thing about wombats is that they have poor eyesight they can’t easily notice or tell if there’s a car or truck up ahead or coming towards their way and they always end up getting ran over, ending up as “roadkill”. In this kind of situation wombats do seem to be defenseless.
But when it comes to humans and other predatory animals trying to eat, hurt or harm them, they have a defense system against these kinds of situations.
Predatory animals that can likely take a wombat are Dingoes and . Most of the time Dingoes or Tasmanian Devils run after the wombat. The wombat will run as fast as it can towards its burrow. Once the wombat is on its way to its burrow there’s a possibility that a dingo or a Tasmanian devil can get a hold of the wombat’s furry back or behind. When this happens the wombat’s defense mechanism is kicking the predator. Wombats’ legs are very powerful and it can deliver 2-legged kicks. The wombat uses it’s both legs at the same time and deliver what people call or refer to as a “donkey kick”. This kick is so powerful that it’s capable of knocking the predator unconscious. And that gives the wombat an ample amount of time to go further inside its burrow. And once inside, the wombat is totally safe.
Humans can do the same thing like how dingoes and Tasmanian devils grab a wombat. To catch a wombat they also grab it by its fur. Once a wombat is attacked like this, the wombat kicks the dirt or sand below it so that the sand or dirt will go inside the human’s eyes, blinding it for a few seconds. And alas, the wombat can make its escape and make a quick dash inside its burrow.
But there are also times when wombats are not being attacked but they feel threatened or they’re about to be attacked. When they feel like this, they’ll be the one to attack first. This is how a wombat attacks a human. First, it’ll run very fast towards the human and as a result because of the wombat’s weight, its main goal is to bawl over or tip over the human. Once the human is down on the ground, the wombat will start using its claws to claw on the human and once the human starts to fight or exert effort to stop the wombat. The wombat will start biting the human with its sharp teeth.
So the best thing to do, if you find yourself near a wombat or encounter a wombat is to find a tree or bushes and go hide behind it and wait patiently until the wombat leaves the place.
That’s why it’s best not to underestimate the wombat’s ability to defend itself.