Australia tourist information on accommodation, tours, cheap flights and car hire. Accommodation | International Flights | Domestic Flights | Tours | Travel Insurance | Car Hire | Visas | Shopping | Dating | Humour
follow Amazing Australia on Facebook


The wombat is an Australian marsupial animal, short-legged and muscular, up to about one metre in length with a very short tail, resembling a bear or furry pig. They dig hollows to live in and are found in forested, mountainous, and heathland areas of southern Australia and Tasmania.
There are three species of wombat: the Common Wombat, the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat, and the
Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat. Their fur colour can vary from a sandy colour to brown, or from grey to black. All three species measure around a metre in length and weigh between 20 and 35 kg and are herbivores, their diet consisting mostly of grasses, plants, bark and roots.
The name wombat originates from the Eora Aboriginal community who were the original inhabitants of the Sydney area.

Thanks to Camille Espzel for this wombat picture

The wombat is also known in an Australian joke as the animal to most closely resemble the Australian man; because he eats, roots(,) and leaves, but this image has since changed when the director of Nocturnal Wildlife Research Ltd, biologist Clive Marks, filmed for the first time ever a wombat courtship and mating in captivity in Australia, at Tonimbuk Farm in south-eastern Victoria.

With this first ever wombat porn movie the wombats shook off their image as slow sloth like animals, the mating ritual involved lots of running around chasing in figure eights, a few bites on the rump, wild backward kicks, grunting and lots of heavy breathing. After a prolonged period of copulation in the same position, the female will break away and run in a pattern of circles and figures of eight with the male close behind her. As soon as he bites her on the rump she stops just long enough to permit him to roll her on her side and begin copulating again.
Space appears to be the key to succes here, without enough space in their pens to run the circles wombats will not mate in captivity.
Female wombats give birth to a single young in the spring, after a gestation period of around 21 days.
They have a well developed pouch, which the young leave after about 6-7 months. Wombats are weaned after 15 months, and become sexually mature at 18 months of age.
Their enemies are cars (see below) , Tasmanian devils and dingoes.

wombat warning signs
Photo by Rob Lapaer of Rainforest Hideaway B&B, Cape Tribulation, N.Qld.
Warning sign for wombats on the Nullarbor plains

With their rodent-like front teeth and powerful claws they dig extensive burrows and tunnels. They are usually nocturnal but may sometimes venture out to feed on cool or overcast days. They are not often seen but leave evidence in the form of damaged fences and diggings.
Wombats have a very slow metabolism, taking around 2 weeks to complete digestion, this helps their survival in arid conditions. They usually are slow movers, but when threatened they can reach speeds of up to 40 km/h and maintain that speed for up to 90 seconds, they defend their home territory and react aggressively to intruders, other animals that follow them into their burrow can be crushed against the tunnel roof and sufocated. The territory of the Common Wombat can be over 20 hectares, the hairy-nosed species have much smaller territories of only about 4 hectares.
The ancestors of modern wombats evolved sometime between 55 and 26 million years ago, about 11 species flourished well into the ice ages, some of them as large as rhinoceros who were still around when Aborigines arrived in Australia, but hunting, and habitat alteration brought about their extinction.

Wombats are quite popular in zoos and wildlife parks where they have been tamed and can be patted and held, though they can still be unpredictable if provoked, or if they are simply in a bad mood. Due to their weight a charging wombat at speed can easily knock an average-sized man over, and their sharp teeth and powerful jaws can inflict serious injuries. There are several reports of people having been bitten or scratched by wombats.

Feel free to add something to our wombat page !

Use of this website constitutes acceptance of the User Agreement for this website
Contact us | Advertise on this site | Link to this site |Add your photos or stories to this site | Webmasters | Affiliates