wombat FACTS

Australia's most unusual and loved marsupial

The wombat lives in hilly forest country and it likes to burrow underground. A wombat burrow can be as long as 20 metres. Wombats quickly dig complicated tunnels with their strong legs and sharp claws, and then they push loosened soil away with their hind feet. Did you know that a wombat likes to live alone?

Wombats live alone in their burrows, but other wombats may be in a tunnel close by, or sometimes burrows can interconnect. Wombats are very shy animals. Wombats usually rest in or near their burrows during the day and come out at night to eat. 

Did you know?

The entrance to the female Wombat's pouch faces backwards. This is to prevent dirt from entering it when it is burrowing.  Farmers consider wombats pests because they damage crops and fences, and cattle may break their legs by stepping in wombat burrows.

The burrows also provide shelter for rabbits which also damage crops. For these reasons, farmers are often eager to rid their farms of all wombats.

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Some interesting wombat facts

There are three species of Wombats
(An Australian Marsupial animal)

1. Common
2. Northern Hairy Nosed
3. Southern Hairy Nosed    

WOMBAT, common name for three species of burrowing MARSUPIAL. Wombats have long claws that are adapted for digging, and they live in burrows, from which they emerge at night to feed on grasses and other plants. The teeth of wombats are of continuous growth, and, a single pair of chisel like incisors is found in each jaw. Young Wombats are born singly and each is carried in its mother's pouch. 

Common Wombat (Vombatus ursinus)

The common wombat, of southern Australia is the largest, attaining a maximum length of about 91 cm (about 36 in). It is tailless and stocky, and its thick coarse fur varies in color from yellow to black. The two species of hairy-nosed wombats differ from the common wombat species in having longer, pointed ears, a hairy muzzle, and soft, silky fur. 

Where to find them?

The common wombat lives mainly in wet, partly forested areas on the coast, and on the ranges and western slopes. The southern hairy-nosed wombat prefers dry, open country.

Both species live in burrows, preferring well-drained soils that are easy to dig in. The burrows, which are often built on the sides of gullies, can be up to 30 m long, and several metres deep. Wombats generally stay in the burrows during the day, kept warm in winter and cool in summer. They will often share their home with other wombats.

What do they like to eat?

Wombats spend between three and eight hours each night grazing on their favourite food, which is native grasses such as the tussocky 'snow grass', wallaby grass and kangaroo grass. They will also eat sedges and the roots of shrubs and trees. They cut their food with sharp, chisel-like front teeth which grow continuously. A wombat may wander up to 3 km each night looking for food.

baby wombat eating

Marking their territory

Although wombats will share burrows, they are possessive about their particular feeding grounds. They mark out these areas by leaving scent trails and droppings around the boundaries. If an intruding wombat moves in on their territory, it will be discouraged through a series of snorts, screeches and even a chase.

As a result, the wombat population of an area is dependent on the number of available feeding grounds. A young wombat can sometimes take the place of an adult that has died, but often it will be forced to move to another area to find its own feeding ground.

wombat burrow


A wombat can reproduce after it reaches two years of age. Mating occurs between September and December, and usually results in one offspring. The newborn wombat, which weighs only 1 g and is less than 3 cm long, has to crawl from the birth canal into the mother's pouch. This pouch faces backwards, which stops dirt and twigs getting caught in it when the mother digs. The young wombat will stay in the pouch for between seven and 10 months.

Their threats

Because of settlement and agriculture, wombats in most areas have been pushed into the rugged hills and mountains. As long as they remain in these areas, wild dogs and collisions with cars are more of a threat to these marsupials than landowners. However, because of their habit of wandering down to the flats to enjoy the tasty morsels growing there (knocking down fences on the way), they are sometimes killed by farmers.

Wombats have also had to compete with introduced animals - such as cattle, sheep, and particularly rabbits - for food. This competition appears to have been a major factor in the decline of the northern hairy-nosed wombat in NSW.


In August 2016 An Australian woman who was reportedly attacked by a wombat while walking her dogs says she thought she was going to die at the paws of the aggressive marsupial.

Kerry Evans, from Canberra was walking her springer spaniels Murphy and Pirate down a suburban street when she encountered the wombat, which was grazing in a front garden.

Evans said the wombat charged her dogs who panicked and knocked her to the ground, within reach of the wombat’s claws.

“I was laying screaming for help, I couldn’t get away from it, every time I managed to get up it attacked me and bit me and knocked me to the ground,” she told the Canberra Times.

“I really thought I was going to lay there and die that night because I just couldn’t see how I was going to get away from it, it just wasn’t stopping its attack.”

She was rescued by a neighbour and a nearby driver, who took control of her dogs and allowed her to scramble away.

Evans received more than 20 bites and lacerations from the wombat’s attack, three of which required stitches.

Source: The Canberra Times

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