Animals of the world, Wombat

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wombat (640x437)

  • This large, pudgy mammal is a marsupial found in Australia and on scattered islands nearby.
  • There are three extant species and they are all members of the family Vombatidae
  • Wombats’ fur can vary from a sandy colour to brown, or from grey to black. All three known extant species average around a metre in length and weigh between 20 and 35 kg (44 and 77 lbs).
  • Wombats almost invariably bear one young at a time, which develops for five months or longer in a pouch that opens rearward
  • Wombats are heavily built and virtually tailless with small eyes and short ears.
  • Wombats use their claws to dig burrows in open grasslands and eucalyptus forests. They live in these burrows, which can become extensive tunnel-and-chamber complexes
  • Nocturnal and strictly herbivorous, they eat grasses and, in the case of the common wombat, the inner bark of tree and shrub roots
  • Wombats have an extraordinarily slow metabolism, taking around eight to 14 days to complete digestion, which aids their survival in arid conditions
  • When attacked, wombats dive into a nearby tunnel, using their rumps to block a pursuing attacker. A wombat may allow an intruder to force its head over the wombat’s back, and then use its powerful legs to crush the skull of the predator against the roof of the tunnel, or drive it off with two-legged kicks, like those of a donkey.
  • Wombats typically live up to 15 years in the wild

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