Wombats are Australian nocturnal marsupials, which are pouched mammals like the koala, kangaroo and possum. The coat of the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat is silver-grey or mottled brown on the back, & pale grey on the belly. The head is broad & flat, with narrow, pointy ears & small eyes. The bridge of the nose is covered with white or brown hair. The limbs are short, with small toes & flattened claws. Wombats sleep for up to 16 hours a day, They can run in short bursts up to 40kph – about the same speed as an Olympic sprinter.
DISTRIBUTION & HABITAT
The Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat is found in small pockets of semi-arid land in South Australia and Western Australia. Although solitary by nature they live in colonies of up to 10 wombats in extensive burrow systems. (wombats are excellent diggers).
Wombats feed mainly on native grass, herbivorous plants & the roots & bulbs of shrubs or trees. They also eat bark from native trees & a considerable amount of dirt.
LIFE EXPECTANCY & BREEDING
They can breed at any time throughout the year; gestation is approximately 30 days. The embryonic joey crawls to the backward opening pouch & attaches to one of 2 teats for around 5 months, leaving the pouch permanently at around 10 months of age. Weaning is around 12 to 15 months of age. Wombats first breed from about 3 years old. They live for around 15 years in the wild.
IUCN Red List: NEAR THREATENED
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