Common wombat

Common Name:
Common Wombat
Scientific Name:
Vombatus ursinus
Type:
Mammals
Diet:
Herbivore
Group Name:
Mob, colony
Size:
28 to 47 inches
Weight:
32 to 80 pounds
IUCN Red List Status:
Least concern
Current Population Trend:
Stable

This large, stocky mammal is a marsupial, or pouched animal, found in Australia and on scattered islands nearby. Like other marsupials, the wombat gives birth to tiny, undeveloped young that crawl into a pouch on their mother's belly. A wombat baby remains in its mother's pouch for about five months before emerging. Even after it leaves the pouch, the young animal will frequently crawl back in to nurse or to escape danger. By about seven months of age, a young wombat can care for itself.

It is also called the bare-nosed wombat, to distinguish it from its cousins, the southern and northern hairy-nosed wombats.

Burrow life

Wombats use their strong claws to dig burrows in open grasslands and eucalyptus forests. They live in these burrows, which can become extensive tunnel-and-chamber complexes. Common wombats are solitary and inhabit their own burrows, while other species may be more social and live together in larger burrow groups called colonies.

Vegetarian diet

Wombats are nocturnal and emerge to feed at night on grasses, roots, and bark. They have two rodentlike incisors that never stop growing. They're kept in check by gnawing on some of their tougher vegetarian fare. For reasons not well understood, their feces is cube-shaped.

Conflict with humans

This photo was submitted to Your Shot, our photo community on Instagram. Follow us on Instagram at @natgeoyourshot or visit us at natgeo.com/yourshot for the latest submissions and news about the community.
This photo was submitted to Your Shot, our photo community on Instagram. Follow us on Instagram at @natgeoyourshot or visit us at natgeo.com/yourshot for the latest submissions and news about the community.
Photograph by Jorge Rueda, National Geographic Your Shot

The field and pasture damage caused by wombat burrowing can be a nuisance to ranchers and farmers. Wombats have been hunted for this behavior, as well as for their fur and simply for sport. The common wombat is still hunted as vermin. Space for all wombats is at a premium as farm and ranch lands increasingly replace natural space.

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