Another of Australia's endemic marsupials - the wombat

@JudyEv (126350)
Bunbury, Australia
August 4, 2018 11:03pm CST
I’ve had a few questions about wombats so I thought I’d do a discussion about them. Their taxonomical name is Vombatus ursinus. They are the world’s largest burrowing mammal and are only found in Australia and a few offshore islands. They are marsupials and have a backward-facing pouch. This means the pouch (and any baby) doesn't get full of dirt when Mum is digging. The babies are called ‘joeys’ just like baby kangaroos. They range from 29 to 40 inches long (73 to 101cms) and about 14 inches (35cms) high. They have a cleft upper lip which allows them to graze close to the ground. They are built like mini-tanks and have strong claws adapted for digging. The rounded back slopes down. The rump is protected by a cartilaginous plate. When threatened by dogs or dingoes, the wombat digs in and presents this hard plate to its attacker which is unable to get a grip. Wombats don’t sweat and often sleep in their burrows flat on their backs with their legs in the air. Another interesting fact is that they excrete little blocks of manure which are square in shape. A major cause of death is sarcoptic mange which is spread by feral cats and foxes. Although they look very lovable, adult pet wombats are extremely stubborn, very strong and not quite as endearing as the young ones, which are not above sleeping with their owners and hogging most of the pillow. The photo is from Wikimedia Commons: GregTheBusker (originally posted to Flickr as Common Wombat) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]
18 people like this
19 responses
@LadyDuck (163802)
• Switzerland
5 Aug
They would be funny to see when they sleep on their back. Most wild animals are cute when they are very young, but not easy pets to be kept inside a house. I did not know a lot about wombats, thanks for sharing.
4 people like this
@JudyEv (126350)
• Bunbury, Australia
5 Aug
There is a children's book called Diary of a Wombat and it has the most wonderful drawings. It also gives a good idea of what a problem a pet one can be. They are very strong and if they want to come inside a house it takes a sturdy door to stop them.
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (163802)
• Switzerland
6 Aug
@JudyEv Not all cute animals are welcome inside a house. I have seen the damages that squirrels and raccoons can do inside a house.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (126350)
• Bunbury, Australia
6 Aug
@LadyDuck A wombat could do a lot of damage too if they felt inclined.
2 people like this
@bagarad (12300)
• Paso Robles, California
5 Aug
I'm never known much about wombats. I don't think I'd want one as a pet. I always thought they were primarily wild animals.
3 people like this
@JudyEv (126350)
• Bunbury, Australia
5 Aug
They are wild but baby orphans sometimes get raised as pets. Three escaped from a sanctuary once and one went into a house, into the bedroom and climbed into the bed!
1 person likes this
@bagarad (12300)
• Paso Robles, California
9 Aug
@JudyEv That must have been a surprise -- especially if the bed was already occupied. Was it?
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (126350)
• Bunbury, Australia
9 Aug
@bagarad No luckily. I know another lady who had one as a pet and it used to sleep with her daughter.
1 person likes this
@JohnRoberts (60123)
• Los Angeles, California
5 Aug
They can be pets?
3 people like this
@JudyEv (126350)
• Bunbury, Australia
5 Aug
Normally only baby orphans or injured wombats would become pets. They are not the ideal house guest.
1 person likes this
@arunima25 (4638)
• Bangalore, India
5 Aug
Do people keep them as pets?? I always thought that they were wild animals.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (126350)
• Bunbury, Australia
6 Aug
They are wild animals. It's only injured wombats or baby orphans that would become pets.
1 person likes this
@arunima25 (4638)
• Bangalore, India
6 Aug
@JudyEv Are they harmful in any way?? Is it legal to keep them as pets?
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (126350)
• Bunbury, Australia
6 Aug
@arunima25 They are protected so you probably need a licence to keep them as pets. They aren't really harmful but they can bite and scratch if they get annoyed.
1 person likes this
@DianneN (79948)
• United States
6 Aug
I read that some vets in Australia are trying to save them from some sort of mange they are developing. A simple antibiotic is all they need to keep them from dying out.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (126350)
• Bunbury, Australia
6 Aug
It's a sarcoptic mange (which I mention in the post but that's okay ). I think the problem is to catch them to be able to treat them.
1 person likes this
@DianneN (79948)
• United States
6 Aug
@JudyEv I did see that, actually. lol The vet and his helpers run like heck, and have caught many that way.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (126350)
• Bunbury, Australia
6 Aug
@DianneN That's good to know. There was one wombat which had a role in an Aussie soap years ago but they just had to film around him and hope they could use the scenes. He was very unpredictable and no idea of following orders - or even suggestions!
1 person likes this
@vandana7 (66120)
• India
5 Aug
I think Wombats the brick layers could become natural brick factory for the world, if................ their excreta can be disinfected, and deodorized. Vanny's brain thinks like that anyway.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (126350)
• Bunbury, Australia
6 Aug
The 'bricks' are very small Vanny. Maybe they could make a doll's house out of them.
1 person likes this
@vandana7 (66120)
• India
6 Aug
@JudyEv Sigh...god simply doesn't have a smart adviser like me to guide him, isn't it?
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (126350)
• Bunbury, Australia
6 Aug
@vandana7 Maybe God is a man after all as He seems to have got a few things wrong.
1 person likes this
@just4him (120557)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
5 Aug
Interesting you can keep them as pets. They have an interesting way of defending themselves. It is a cute little fella.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (126350)
• Bunbury, Australia
5 Aug
Normally only the injured or orphans would become pets. As littlies, they are very cute.
1 person likes this
@just4him (120557)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
6 Aug
@JudyEv Yes, they are cute.
1 person likes this
@PainsOnSlate (20341)
• Canada
5 Aug
When I first looked at the photo I thought it was a Buffalo until I figured how small he is. Very interesting animal.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (126350)
• Bunbury, Australia
5 Aug
I was surprised when people here didn't seem to know of them. As I said in another comment, kangaroos and koalas hog all the limelight.
1 person likes this
• Canada
8 Aug
@JudyEv we just don't have those animals, I like the cutness of the little guy...
1 person likes this
@TRBRocks420 (79594)
• Banks, Oregon
5 Aug
Very interesting about the Wombat cute little creature.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (126350)
• Bunbury, Australia
6 Aug
They look cute and cuddly but like the koala their appearance is a bit deceptive.
1 person likes this
@TRBRocks420 (79594)
• Banks, Oregon
6 Aug
@JudyEv Yeah, I have seen how mean and, even gross the Koala can be.
1 person likes this
• Eugene, Oregon
8 Aug
All these varieties of marsupials are quite interesting. If he had horns, he would resemble an American bison.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (126350)
• Bunbury, Australia
8 Aug
Another comment said their first thought was that it was a bison and I can see the resemblance.
1 person likes this
@kepweng (16794)
• Waikoloa, Hawaii
8 Aug
cute i wonder if it can be a pet?
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (126350)
• Bunbury, Australia
8 Aug
They don't make very good pets once they're adults. It's a shame as they look so cuddly.
@GardenGerty (100472)
• United States
6 Aug
It is only this year that I have known that a wombat was a fuzzy marsupial. Never imagined it. You were very thorough in helping us all learn more.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (126350)
• Bunbury, Australia
6 Aug
I'm surprised that no-one seems to have heard of them. I wouldn't have thought they were that strange.
@garymarsh6 (14264)
• United Kingdom
5 Aug
There are some unique animals in Australia none that we see over here as you well know! Thanks for telling us about them!
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (126350)
• Bunbury, Australia
5 Aug
I was surprised that no one seemed to know much about wombats. Koalas and kangaroos hog all the limelight it seems.
@dya80dya (3758)
• Romania
5 Aug
I think they are wild animals.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (126350)
• Bunbury, Australia
6 Aug
You're right. They are wild animals but sometimes an orphan baby might be rescued and brought up by someone.
@Freelanzer (9373)
• Canada
5 Aug
It looks like a huge rat. Don't think I have seen one before.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (126350)
• Bunbury, Australia
5 Aug
Someone else thought they looked like a rat too. The South American capybara looks a bit similar too.
1 person likes this
@Kandae11 (38718)
5 Aug
Isn't it awesome the way each animal is created with a special mechanism for self defense?
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (126350)
• Bunbury, Australia
5 Aug
That's true. In softish soil they can dig faster than a man with a shovel. The koala also has a hard pad on his bottom but that's for sitting on, not for defence.
1 person likes this
@Juliaacv (31263)
• Canada
5 Aug
I would imagine that they sleep on their backs to allow their young free access in and out of the pouch. Little bales of manure, interesting. At least it would be easy to realize what animal was around if you saw one of those.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (126350)
• Bunbury, Australia
6 Aug
At one of our tourist caravan park stops they had photos of the different faeces that we might see on the lawns and notes about what animal belonged to what manure. As you say, it made it easy to work out what had visited the park while we were all sleeping.
1 person likes this
@allen0187 (33444)
• Philippines
5 Aug
Not interested in stepping on little square blocks of manure...
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (126350)
• Bunbury, Australia
6 Aug
In our paddocks it's difficult to avoid stepping on the kangaroo poo.
1 person likes this
@xFiacre (4588)
• Ireland
5 Aug
@judyev That’s a most unladylike way to sleep. Pooing geometrical bricks is cool though.
1 person likes this