24 facts about wombats that you (probably) don’t know

1. What wombats and kangaroos have in common?

Wombats and kangaroos are marsupials. They have pouches where they keep their babies. … but wombats have their pouches “backwards”.

2. Why wombats have their pouches ‘backwards’?

Wombats have their pouches “backwards” so the babies are protected from dirt when their mothers are digging burrows. Wise Mother Nature..! 👍🤓

3. How fast can wombats run?

Don’t let their short legs fool you! Although they are short distance runners, wombats can run up to 40km/h!! 😁😅

Image by bernswaelz from Pixabay.

4. What is the unusual shape of wombat’s poop?

Wombat’s poop is cube-shaped! They produce around a 100 of them a day and use them to mark their territory. There is a theory that they are cube-shaped because wombats climb on rocks and such feces do not easily roll off 🤓😊

5. How long wombats digest their food?

This question might seem very uninteresting, but wombats are not ordinary animals, so even their digestion process is unusual 😅 Wombat’s intestines measure about 11 meters (33 feet) – that’s 10 times more than the wombat itself! A meal follows that intestinal path for approximately 2 weeks. During this time, wombat’s body absorbs all possible nutrients from the food, including water. As a result wombat can live years without a drink..!’
Not so boring, eh..? 🤓

Image by Budgme from Pixabay

6. How high can wombat jump?

Although wombats do not look like kangaroos, believe it or not, they CAN JUMP! And really high! Apparently, some are able to jump over a meter high fence. However, this does not mean that they are very much interested in jumping 😅 Those who live with people in sanctuaries are cared for and happy, and running away is not on their minds😊

7. Are wombats intelligent?

Wombats were initially considered not very intelligent creatures, but it has changed over time. They are however very stubborn and determined and they often go through the obstacles instead of around them 😅 One of the signs of their intelligence is that wombats love to play. They’re the most playful among marsupials.

For scientific research traps were positioned at the entrance of their burrows. Wombats turned out to be quite clever and could not be outsmarted. They stayed in their burrows and then dug around the traps or dug another exit.

8. How old was the oldest wombat?

A wombat called Patrick was the oldest wombat and he lived for 31 years 😊
He lived at Ballarat Wildlife Park in Australia since 1987, when his mother was hit by a car. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2017.

Wombats live 10-15 years in the wild and up to 20 years in captivity – so far no other wombat has lived to such an old age, equivalent to around 130 in “human” years!

His carers in Ballarat Wildlife Park tried to release him back to the wild 3 times, but unfortunately each time he was attacked and injured by wild wombats, so they decided to keep him in the Wildlife Park for good 😊

9. How heavy was the heaviest wombat?

Do you remember Patrick from my previous post? Patrick was not only the world’s oldest wombat. He was also the heaviest (though apparently not obese!) wombat. He weighed 36 kg, and sometimes he even reached 40 kg! Wombats usually weigh no more than 20 kg.

Patrick was sort of a “celebrity” 😁 – he enjoyed being taken for rides around the Wildlife Park where he lived in his personalised wheelbarrow, and on Facebook he had over 55,000 fans and he was 3rd on the CNN Travel list of great city mascots. When he turned 21, he was awarded a gold medal by the mayor.

10. How do wombats sleep?

In the wild wombats spent 3/4 of their time in the burrows. They have a sleeping chamber and in order to conserve energy they can lower their metabolism and slow their heartbeat and respiration.
They sleep a lot, around 16 hrs per day. They don’t like heat and during summer they spend the day in the burrow and leave only if the temperature is similar or lower than temperature of the burrow. Sometimes they even walk into the water to cool down.
They sleep on their backs with their legs in the air 😁😁

11. Do wombats like rain?

Wombats don’t like rain. They prefer dry environment. Heavy rain can be dangerous for them. It can flood their burrows and trap them inside.

When it rains wombat mums with very small babies often have to run in search for dry areas. During such journeys they can be hit by cars and die, that’s why when it rains people need to be especially careful while driving, and watch out for wombats rushing along the roads.

Also, wildlife organisations are urging people to keep an eye out for wombats searching for dry shelters.

Image by pen_ash_3 at Pixabay

12. Which part of the body wombats use for defence?

Wombats have very hard bums.. 😅 They’re made out of four plates fused together and they’re hard as a rock! Wombats use their bottoms for defence by ‘plugging up’ their burrows to stop the predators from entering, and also to protect softer parts of their bodies.

There is a theory that wombats are even able to crush skulls of dingos and foxes with their hard bums, but scientists are sceptical about it. It wouldn’t be worth for them to start a fight with a ‘deadly’ force of an angry wombat’s bottom…! 😅😁

13. How wombats get their name?

The name ‘wombat’ comes from the almost extinct Dharug language spoken by the indigenous people of the Sydney area. It derived from the word ‘wombad’ and means ‘burrowing marsupial’.

When the first settlers from Europe arrived in Australia in 1788, many words from the Dharug language entered English with the wombat’s initial spelling being ‘whom-batt ‘.

14. Do wombats’ teeth keep growing?

Wombats have 24 rootless teeth that don’t stop growing but due to eating tough grasses, plants high in silica, and chewing pieces of barks and logs their teeth wear down, and it’s a natural process.

Problem occurs when wombats live in captivity and skip their normal diet. It’s difficult sometimes for their carers to replicate their proper diet, but also wombats have different personalities and some of them prefer the treats to the boring healthy stuff. Same as people..! 😅

If that happens wombats have to go to the dentist and have their teeth burred down to the normal shape.

15. Can wombat swim?

Wombats can swim, but it doesn’t mean they like it 😊 They can occasionally enter the water to cross a creek or a small stream and do ‘doggy paddle’ or rather ‘wombat puddle’ 😅 when the water is deep, but they do not seek out water.

Once a wombat was spotted swimming 250m offshore looking really distressed and was rescued by fishermen. They said the wombat seemed to be relieved when his feet touched the floor of the boat 😊

16. What do you call a baby wombat?

A baby wombat is called ‘joey’. The same as a little kangaroo 😊 Wombats usually give birth to one joey, but twins happen sometimes. Little joey is hairless and blind, weighs only 2 grams and is a size of a jellybean! 😊

Wombat’s pregnancy lasts only 21-30 days and when the baby is born it crawls into the pouch, attach to one of its mother’s teat and remains there for 5 months. The teat swells around the joey’s mouth to protect it from falling out of the pouch. Even when it’s older, joey often crawls back into the pouch to nurse or when in danger.

And feeding baby wombat requires special skills. Read it here.

17. How long can be wombat’s burrow?

Wombats are well skilled architects and builders, and very enthusiastic diggers 😁Their burrows are from 2 to 20 meters long and can be 3.5 meters deep.

The burrows have different purposes and sizes: short burrows might be quickly dug when wombat needs to hide or escape, longer burrows are more complex, and wombats stay in them during the day. They have chambers for sleeping, side tunnels and multiple exits.

They’re very well designed and ventilated and keep wombats cool during hot months and warm when the weather gets colder. Sleeping chambers are situated higher in the burrow, probably to protect them from flooding.

The burrows even have their own sun terraces near the entrance where wombats like to bask in the sun in the colder months 😊 They’re also deep enough to be fireproof!

18. How many wombat species are there

There are 3 species of wombats:

  • Bare-Nosed Wombat (Common Wombat)

It can be found in the coastal region of South-East Australia and in Tasmania. Bare-Nosed Wombat has a large bare, shiny nose similar to dog’s nose. Their fur is longer than Hairy-Nosed wombat and more adapted to colder and wetter climate. They’re usually solitary, but sometimes visit each other’s burrows.

  • Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat

It can be found in the coastal region of South Australia. Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat has a hairy nose (no surprise here! ) covered with soft fur. The nose is soft and similar to pig’s nose. Their fur is soft and silky. They’re easier to keep in captivity as they’re more docile. . 

Although they live in colonies, each wombat prefers to have its own burrow and live there on its own. 

  • Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat

It can be found in Northern Victoria, NSW, and a quarter of Queensland. It’ bigger than Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat, has wider and longer muzzle, and dark patches around the eyes.

They sometimes share their burrows with same sex relatives. It’s probably the rarest Australian marsupial – estimated 113, and although their population has risen recently, they’re considered as critically endangered.

19. When is Wombat Day?

Wombat day is on 22nd of October and it was introduced in 2005.

The date was chosen as Spring Planting celebration is held around this date. People celebrate Wombat Day by eating lots of chocolate and Wine gums, baking chocolate cakes in the shape of the wombat – it has to be eaten whole in order for the wombats wishes to come true! 😅😁 – and telling stories about them.

Apparently, there is also a secret wombat dance 😁😁

The day is also called “Hug a Wombie Day” or “Wombats of the World Unite Day”

In 2013 Perth mint issued a special coin with the denomination of 50 cents. On the reverse is a baby wombat designed by artist Elise Martinson.

20. Who was Fatso the Wombat?

Fatso the Fat-Arsed Wombat (that’s the full name 😂) was an ‘unofficial’ mascot of Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics. He was designed by the former Disney animator Paul Newell. How it happened that he became the most memorable mascot?

The idea for Sydney 2000 Olympic mascots was to select less popular Australian animals instead of stereotypical kangaroos or koalas. They opted for platypus names Syd, kookaburra named Olly and anteater named Milly. Despite the efforts it was undercut when Australian Olympic Committee introduced their own licensed mascot: Boxing Kangaroo….. and then Fatso showed up! 😊

Fatso was a symbol of protest against commercialisation of Olympic mascots. 

He was cute, had a personality and turned out to be a much better mascot. Fatso first appeared at the bottom of the screen on a TV show called The Dream and was a real hit! Australian athletes even took Fatso to the medal podium angering Olympic officials 😅

Fatso sticked to his principles and never tried to cash-in on his fame 👍 There were only 2 plush dolls made, one was auctioned for Olympic Aid charity. Another was kept by the hosts of The Dream TV show.

Well done..! 👍👍

21. Can wombat be a pet?

Although young wombats are cute 🥰, they’re wild animals, and when they grow older, they can be aggressive and dangerous. They’re also very inquisitive and obstinate, when they make up their minds, they will stop at nothing to get what they want; they will even tear holes in fences, doors, or walls 😅

Orphaned wombats are taken into care by specially trained people, but always with intend to release them into the wild when they’re old enough to be able to live on their own.

In Australia wombats are protected 👍👍and it’s illegal to have them as pets.

22. What animal is wombat’s closest relative?

Wombat’s closest relative is a koala 😊Although there are some similarities between them, for instance they’re both nocturnal, and their noses are very similar, wombats can’t sit upright as koalas – but because they’re ‘horizontal’ they have fewer spinal issues 👍👍

Koalas eat eucalyptus and spend most of their time in trees, wombats eat grass, plants and roots and are ground dwellers (although apparently, they can climb when they want to! 😎) 

Koalas and wombats are the last survivors of once much more diverse marsupials that walked the earth 25 million years ago.

Image by Martin Str from Pixabay.

23. Do wombats eat meat?

Wombats are herbivorous (Vegans! 😉😜) Their diet is plant based and consist of grass, roots, vegetables, mushrooms etc.

Depending on wombat species, they spend 2 to 8 hours each night grazing on their food cutting it with their sharp chisel-like front teeth. They use their claws to dig up roots.

Wombats eat very little relative to their size, only one third what a kangaroo would eat, so they don’t have to spend a lot of time foraging. As their diet is nutritionally poor, low in protein and high in fibre, wombats must conserve their energy and have very low metabolism.

Additionally, they have very efficient digestive system and are able to absorb maximum amount of nutrients and water from the food 👍👍

24. Are wombats social?

Wombats can be friendly with people who look after them in sanctuaries but in the wild they are loners, and not very social 😅

They can share a burrow occasionally but on the surface, they usually try to avoid each other. They rub against logs and trees to leave scent trails and their cube-shaped poop to mark their feeding ground.

The longest wombats live in a company of other wombat is when a mother raises her baby; it’s about 2 years when young wombat is ready to live on its own 😊

If you love wombats as much as we do, check out our children’s book:

“Kevin the kangaroo that couldn’t hop!

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