(Scientific Name: Vombatus ursinus)
The common wombat has short, slightly rounded ears, a large, hairless nose and coarse, thick fur. The pouch opens to the rear as an adaptation to ensure it does not fill with soil while the animal is digging. The rump is protected by bony plate and acts as a defensive shield if the wombat is chased down its burrow by a predator. Wombats are big, solid animals and adults may weigh in at over 30 kg.
Did You Know? Although protected by law in most areas, some states still regard them as a pest and permit controlled shooting to reduce damage to pasture and crops. The range of the common wombat has reduced significantly since European settlement from habitat loss, persecution by farmers and the effects of disease, particularly mange.
Habitat: Wombats prefer the forests of temperate south-eastern Australia, including alpine areas, although they will also inhabit coastal habitats and heath land. They live in burrows, which can be as long as twenty metres and may have several burrow systems that they use at different times. They prefer to dig their burrows in the slopes above creeks to safeguard against flooding.
Diet: Most of the diet comprises native grasses, herbaceous plants, and plant roots, which are located at night. A wombat may travel several kilometres each night in search of food.
Article Contributed by the Australian Reptile Park