30 Interesting Facts About Wombats

  1. Wombats are short-legged, quadrupedal marsupials. Their closest relatives are koalas.
  2. They have three species: common wombats, Southern hairy-nosed wombats, and northern hairy-nosed wombats. All these species are present only in Australia.
  3. The northern hairy-nosed wombat is one of the most endangered mammals in the world. A limited number of these wombats are present in Epping Forest national park in Queensland.
  4. According to a fossil discovery in 2018, wombats are approximately 40 million years old. (Source)
  5. Wombat is the largest burrowing mammal. It can reach up to 4 feet in length and gain 35 kg weight. They use their big paws and strong claws to dig 65 feet long and six feet-deep burrows. (Source)
  6. Wombats have backward-facing pouches. This position saves the baby from dirt when the mother digs the burrow.
  7. Wombats are nocturnal (active at night) during the summer season. However, they change their schedule during winter and come out from burrows in the morning and evening.
  8. Wombat is the only animal that produces cube-shaped feces. Their anuses are similar to other mammals, but elasticity in the intestines enables them to change the shape of their poop. These mammals use their dung to mark territory. (Source)
  9. Researchers at the University of Tasmania discovered the reason behind the unusual shape of wombat feces. This study also rejected the role of pubic bone and sphincter in forming this poop. These researchers received Ig Nobel Prize in 2019 for solving this mystery. (Source)
  10. A single wombat digs a network of large and deep burrows. Their temperature remains stable irrespective of the surface environment. Therefore, these dens provide shelter to other animals during bushfires. However, it is a myth that wombats guide other animals to burrows during an intense fire. (Source
    Illustration of two wombats in a den
    Wombat burrows provide shelter to many animals during bushfire

  11. Wombats are herbivores. Their primary food is grasses accompanied by herbs, roots, mosses, and tree bark.
  12. Female wombats usually give birth to a single baby every two years after a gestation period of nearly 30 days. The joey remains in the pouch for around ten months.
  13. Wombats can live up to 15 years in the wild and 30 in captivity.
  14. A common wombat at Satsukiya Zoo in Osaka, Japan, is the oldest wombat in captivity. It was more than 32 years on January 31, 2022. (Source)
  15. Like some other animals, wombats also glow under UV light. It happens due to the unique features of their skin and fur. (Source)
  16. Wombats have a slow but efficient metabolism. They can utilize three times more grass than kangaroos.
  17. Wombats have one of the lowest water consumption among mammals. They fulfill most of their water requirement through food. Their defecation is four times drier than that of a camel.
  18. In 2020, researchers unearthed the fossil of the largest-ever wombat in Australia. This 25 million-year-old animal was the size of a black bear, with weighs 150 kg. It was also one of the oldest marsupials. (Source)
  19. Wombats are the second largest marsupials after kangaroos.
  20. Despite having short legs, wombats can run up to 40 km/h for a short distance and jump over a meter-high fence.
  21. Wombats have an extremely strong rump made from cartilage and fat. They use this body part to protect their burrows from intruders and play while mating. There are unconfirmed reports that wombats can crush the skulls of their predators using their bottoms. (Source)
  22. The Australian government encouraged people to kill wombats at the beginning of the 20th Century. However, all the wombat species are now protected under Australian law.
  23. Adult wombats are aggressive and can injure humans with their claws and teeth. However, they usually run away after seeing humans and only attack if threatened. (Source)
  24. Wombats were a common prey animal during the Ice Age in Tasmania. Compared to the lean meat of kangaroos and wallabies, their meat is fatter, with a higher concentration of saturated fats. (Source)
  25. Wild dogs are the main predators of wombats. Other hunters of these marsupials are Tasmanian devils and eagles.
  26. Different wombat species live in varying habitats, including woodlands, shrublands, coastlands, and mountainous forests.
  27. Wombats are not suitable as pets. They can become aggressive, and their digging habit is damaging.
  28. Wombats are the only marsupials having rodent-like continuously-growing rootless teeth. These teeth assist them in eating hard food.
  29. Common wombats are solitary and live alone in small burrows. However, the other two species dig large dens that accommodate nearly a dozen family members.
  30. Wombats have poor eyesight. They use their strong senses of smell and hearing for communication.

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