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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Wombat: 21 Facts You Won't Believe!

Wombat facts tell us that they are found only in Australia.

Wombats are among the oddest-looking animals you have ever seen. These comic animals are native to Australia (South Australia) and look like stocky, short bears. But, they are actually marsupials and are related to kangaroos and koalas. They are grayish-black or sandy brown in color that helps them avoid predators and blend in with their landscape. They are active at night and in the early evening.

There are three wombat species, common or bare-nosed-wombats, and two hairy-nosed wombat species, northern (Lasiorhinus krefftii) and southern hairy-nosed wombats (Lasiorhinus latifrons). The common wombat has short, round ears and coarse fur while the hairy-nosed wombat has larger ears and soft fur. They are cute and cuddly animals but have short temper. If they feel threatened, they can get very aggressive.

If you liked these facts about wombats, then you'll surely like these facts about koalas and kangaroos too!

Wombat Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a wombat?

A wombat, Vombatus Ursinus, is a type of marsupial.

What class of animal does a wombat belong to?

A wombat, Vombatus Ursinus, belongs to the Mammalia class.

How many wombats are there in the world?

The population of wombats - bare-nosed, northern (Lasiorhinus krefftii), and southern hairy-nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons), is fragmented. But, it is estimated that their total population size is between 60,000 to 130,000 individuals.

Where does a wombat live?

A wombat prefers to live in a mountainous or hilly coastal country, gullies, and creeks.

What is a wombat's habitat?

A wombat’s preferred habitat is a coastal country that is either close to or along the marine shorelines. These ecosystems are very vital as they help in mitigating the effects of climate change by buffering the effects of storms and floods and storing carbon. They also provide other services such as absorbing runoff from farming and serving as nurseries.

Who do wombats live with?

Wombats are solitary animals. A group of wombats can be seen during breeding.

How long does a wombat live?

In the wild, a wombat, bare-nosed, northern, and southern hairy-nosed wombats, can live up to 15 years. Their lifespan in captivity is 20 years.

How do they reproduce?

Common wombats and hairy-nosed species of wombat can breed at any time of the year. However, in the New South Wales highlands, most of the wombats give birth to a single young between December to March. In Tasmania, the birthing season is between October to January. On Flinders Island, there aren’t any births between the months of September and January.

The female becomes aggressive and active after entering the oestrus. According to the mating observed among captive wombats, the female-first attacks the male for 30 minutes and then allows him to mate. After mating for 30 minutes, both females and males lay on their sides. However, in the wild, the courtship involves the female getting chased by the males in circles. Then, the male bites the rump of the female and rolls her on her side. The female breaks away after a few minutes and starts the chasing behavior again. This is repeated multiple times within 30 minutes during the mating process. They can live for 15-20 years.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of different types of wombats is different, common wombats are of Least Concern, northern hairy-nosed wombats are Critically Endangered, and southern hairy-nosed wombats are Near Threatened, according to the IUCN.

Wombat Fun Facts

What do wombats look like?

Wombats have a pouch on their back.

Wombat is a barrel-shaped, short, and stocky marsupial that has physical characteristics reflecting its burrowing nature. They have a broad head, small eyes, powerful shoulders, a strong and short neck, and a small tail that is hidden by fur. The color of their coarse coat can vary from cream, sandy, gray-brown, chocolate brown, dark gray, silver-gray, and glossy black. There is a small colony of albino wombats and ash-white wombats in Southern Victoria.

The difference between wombats and other marsupials is that the former has only two incisor teeth in their upper jaw. They also have unique molar and incisor teeth because they have open roots that continue growing throughout their life.

How cute are they?

They are cute and good-looking animals.

How do they communicate?

Despite the occasionally sharing burrows and overlapping ranges, bare-nosed or common wombat and hairy-nosed wombats are solitary animals. So, communication between two wombats is often aggressive or threatening.

A low guttural growl is usually a warning call from this marsupial. But, when they are angered or alarmed, one can hear a rasping hiss. As they expel air, they repeat this loud, high call. In some cases, the call is an aggressive ‘chikker chikker’ sound or a more guttural sound. Young wombats communicate with their mothers by making ‘huh huh’ calls when they can’t find their mother. The mother responds in the same way.

How big is a wombat?

A wombat’s average length, common wombat (Vombatus Ursinus), southern and northern hairy-nosed wombats are about 39.3 in (100 cm).

How fast can a wombat move?

When threatened, a wombat can run at a speed of 24.9 mph (40 kph).

How much does a wombat weigh?

The average weight of a wombat is 44.1-77.2 lb (20–35 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male and female wombats are called Jacks and Jills respectively.

What would you call a baby wombat?

A baby wombat is called a joey.

What do they eat?

Wombat’s main food is the fibrous native grasses, rushes, and sedges. However, their choice of food is dependent on what is available at the moment. Wombats prefer the wallaby and kangaroo grass in the open, more pastoral areas and favor tussock grass in the forest. When a wombat is eating grass, at times, it will also eat stalks and dry leaves and occasionally rip out a bark strip from a tree trunk and chew on it.

Are they dangerous?

Yes, wombats’ claws and teeth can cause puncture wounds on humans. A startled wombat is capable of charging humans and bowling them over, hurting them with their claws and teeth.

Would they make a good pet?

Since wombats are a protected species, keeping them as pets is illegal in most parts of Australia. However, registered wildlife carers can keep this Australian endemic species in captivity. The common wombat is good for digging and can excavate extensive tunnel systems and chambers like they do in their burrows.

Did you know...

That wombats have a backward-facing pouch. Just like other marsupials, they give birth to a small and underdeveloped baby that lives in its mother’s backward-facing pouch and develops and grows further. But, there is a special difference between the pouches of this Australian endemic species and other marsupials. The pouch of a wombat is positioned backward so that the opening is towards the rear of the other, instead of her head. Because of this, they can dig burrows without letting dirt inside their pouch. These are interesting facts about wombats.

Is the wombat endangered?

Every wombat species is protected in Australia. The northern hairy-nosed wombat, an endangered species, is facing an extinction threat because of its small population size, competition for food from sheep and cattle, predation by wild dogs, and disease. The wild population of this wombat species exists only in two locations - a small colony established after wombats were translocated to the Yarran Downs’ Richard Underwood Nature Refuge and the Epping Forest National Park, Queensland. The Richard Underwood Nature Refuge colony was created under the Xstrata reintroduction project funded by a Swiss global mining company named Xstrata. In the Epping Forest National Park, the wombat population has been on the rise ever since the predator-proof fence was erected.

The common wombat has been a protected species since 1970 in New South Wales. However, they are not protected in eastern Victoria and are even considered to be pests, especially because of all the damage they do to the rabbit-proof fences.

In 2016, a citizen science project called wombat was created for recording wombats’ sightings all over the country. The mobile phone app and the website could be used for logging sightings of live and deceased wombats as well as wombat burrows. The project has recorded more than 7,000 sightings across Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania.

Why do wombats poop squares?

Wombat’s intestines are about 10 times the wombat’s size. So, the digestion time for this Australian endemic species is four times the digestion time for a human. Since all the water and nutrients are extracted from the food, they produce much drier wombat poop. Once all the nutritional content has been removed from the food, the shape of the poop is contracted into a cube.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our giant anteater facts and water vole facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable wombat coloring pages.

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