The Wombat: No It Doesn’t Have Wings

I vaguely remember learning about the wombat when I was about 5 or 6.  My parents taped a lot of nature shows for me to rewatch and one of them was on Australia.  That was a favorite, so I watched it all the time.  The wombat had maybe a 3-5 minute piece that didn’t go into any details.  Other animals were more interesting, but it was enough that I knew what it was.  So, what is it?

A wombat is a marsupial from Australia and looks like a large rodent.  They are short, four-legged animals that can bowl a person over or bite through a boot.  They are also known to go through fences that happen to be in their way, so they are clearly stronger than they look.  Wombats are burrowers, which is why they have adapted to have a backwards facing pouch.  This means that they don’t get soil in the pouch while digging, so their young are protected from a possible accident.

(Added fact: Read after I published this that wombat burrows are so long and extensive that other animals use them to escape brushfires.  So, they are very important for other species’ survival.)

Wombats eat plants and have a slow metabolism, which helps them survive periods where food is scarce.  One would think they’d be slow like sloths due to their metabolism and you would be right.  Although, they are able to sprint about 25 mph if threatened.  They don’t go very far, but it’s enough to give a predator a challenge.  Wombats are also known for having cube-shaped poop.  This is believed to be an adaptation for marking territory since the shape makes the poop easier to stack.  It is unclear how they form the poop, but it’s thought to be due to the way the intestine moves waste products.

There are 3 species of wombats with the Northern Hairy-Nosed species being listed as critically endangered.  They are one of the rarest land mammals in the world since there are only around 100 left.  Disease, competing for food with cattle and sheep, and predation by wild dogs is what has devastated the Northern Hairy-Nosed wombat population.  It doesn’t help that all three species were labeled as pests and had bounties put on them by the Australian government in the early 1900’s.  That practice has stopped and all of them are now protected in every territory with there being several conservation programs used to help them.  Common (least concerned) and Southern Hairy-Nosed (near threatened) wombats are stable, but the Northern Hairy-Nosed (critically endangered) species is still in a danger.

Let’s look at some pictures and videos to help with visuals.

Common Wombat

Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat

Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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34 Responses to The Wombat: No It Doesn’t Have Wings

  1. And he has one of the greatest names in the animal world.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. noelleg44 says:

    Cute little buggers, aren’t they. But mind those claws. Amazing to learn they are vegetarian!


  3. I’ve lived in Australia, but never seen wombat, not surprising considering their underground life and low numbers. They do look cuddly, but you would ned to be careful of the claws.


  4. So cute. Thank you, Charles.


  5. What a cute little animal, Charles. I love the photos.


  6. Jennie says:

    No wonder you enjoyed watching it on TV when you were a kid. Who wouldn’t want to cuddle a wombat (well, maybe not)?


  7. acflory says:

    -giggles- Wombats can also make big dents in cars so care should be taken driving at dusk. Seriously. They’re stocky little guy but very solid.
    I don’t know this from personal experience as I’m a city girl, but friends living in the country issue this warning to visitors like me.


  8. I love George! 🙂 With their great skills in burrowing they’re sounding like a SWAT-team. 😉 Thanks for sharing the information, Charles! Have a beautiful week! xx Michael


  9. Pingback: *Press This* The Wombat: No It Doesn’t Have Wings #259 | Its good to be crazy Sometimes

  10. We have many, many wombats here, but I didn’t really see them until I was old enough to drive because they do love to leap out in front of cars.


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