Wombat

This species live in Australia. Wombats resemble small bears and have large heads, short, stocky bodies and short, powerful legs. Unlike bears, wombats are not predators, and tend to be shy and timid animals. In fact, they make good pets, being playful and affectionate.

A wombat's newborn joey is helpless and tiny - roughly the size of a jellybean - but it manages to clamber into its mother's pouch.

Wombats spend much of their time hidden beneath ground, creating tunnels that can extend back over 30 m (100 ft). Although there is only one entrance, a burrow may branch off into different chambers. They are just about wide enough for the wombat to move through without becoming stuck, although the animal’s agility is such that it can turn around in the tightest of spots. The shorter tunnels are only intended as retreats, while others are used for living purposes.

Wombats resemble small, chubby bears, having compact bodies covered with a dense coat of grey-brown hair. Evidence from fossils suggests that there were once hippo-sized wombats.

The wombat’s sleeping quarters are usually at a higher level to avoid the dangers of flooding, and are lined with vegetation. Some observations in the wild suggest that wombats sometimes make visits to one another's burrows.

Distribution: Coastal eastern Australia, from southeastern Queensland via New South Wales into Victoria. Also on the Victoria and South Australia border, Flinders Island and Tasmania.

Weight: 15 - 54 kg (33 - 100 lb); males are slightly larger.

Length: 67 - 130 cm (26 - 51 in); the tail is 2.5 cm (1 in) long.

Maturity: Typically 2-3 years.

Gestation Period: 20 - 22 days.

Breeding: 1; young spend 248 - 310 days in the pouch.

Food: Herbivorous, eating grass, leaves, bark and mushrooms.

Lifespan: 5 - 15 years in the wild; up to 26 in captivity.

Ears

The triangular ears are small and relatively inconspicuous.

Head

This is rounded and broad, terminating in a large black nose, surrounded by whiskers.

Fur

The texture is quite coarse to the touch, with softer insulating fur beneath.

Colouration

Colour is variable, ranging from black and shades of grey through brown to a sandy colour.

Useful tools

Sharp claws aid the wombat's digging efforts.

TUNNELLING UNDERGROUND

An underground network created by a wombat. These marsupials are solitary creatures, and their burrows serve a number of purposes.

Females produce offspring every second year at the most.

Gallery of Wombat