10 Incredible Wombat Facts

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Published: July 25, 2022
© Martin Pelanek/Shutterstock.com
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Wombats are marsupials that have stubby tails, stocky, muscular bodies, and short legs. They only occur naturally in Australia. They are fascinating creatures with a variety of peculiar traits. Let’s discover the 10 most amazing facts about the wombat.

1. The Lifestyle Of Wombats Makes Them Hard To Study

Wombats have a limited population which makes studying them difficult.

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Due to the limited population, researchers are unable to live capture the animals to gather information about the status of the species without running the risk of endangering them. Wombats are nocturnal, solitary creatures who spend a substantial portion of their time in a sophisticated network of burrows.

Researchers currently clip adhesive tape to the entrances of burrows to study the population and its growth. The hair caught on the tape when the animals enter and exit their burrow is then subjected to genetic analysis. The researchers can frequently identify certain animals using the analyses.

2. Wombats Are Generally Nocturnal

Wombats are nocturnal and spend the night foraging for food.

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They often spend the day in a burrow and come out at night. However, wombats are only observed in captivity during the day. When the weather is chilly and gloomy, they can also be seen in the wild. Wombats are nocturnal herbivores who sleep a lot—about 16 hours every day—just like their relatives the koalas.

3. Wombats Have A Relatively Long Lifespan In Captivity

Wombats can live up to 27 years in captivity.

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Wild common wombats may only live to be between the ages of twelve and fifteen, whereas captive ones frequently live into their twenties. They are excellent diggers thanks to their pointed claws and short, strong legs. In captivity, wombats have been reported to live up to 27 years.

4. Wombats Have A Unique Set Of Teeth

Are Marsupials Mammals
Using their molars and specialized jaw musculature, wombats grind food to extremely fine particle size.

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Wombats have one pair of incisors, one pair of premolars, and four pairs of molars in both upper and lower jaws. The premolar and the incisor are separated by a wide space. This means that only the two upper and two lower incisors may be seen by individuals observing an animal feed.

The incisors are powerful and resemble rodents’ teeth. Wombats’ teeth grow throughout their lives, unlike the teeth of other marsupials. The animal’s diet contains rough plant fibers that wear down the teeth, necessitating constant tooth growth.

5. Wombats Live In Elaborate Tunnels Underground

Creating networks underground, wombats live in burrows.

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Wombats build a system of burrows in which to dwell. The network may be vast and frequently contains several entrances as well as branching tunnels. More than one wombat may occupy the same burrow system.

In the wild, common wombats aren’t very sociable and may hiss or growl at one another. They are under the category of solitary animals. The other species are more sociable and frequently cohabitate in the same burrow. Dung and urine are extensively used to mark entrances.

6. Wombats Have Backward Pouches

The pouch of a wombat faces backward.

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Despite living in burrows, wombat’s pouches face backward. Wombats, like other marsupials, have a pouch where their young develop. The pouch’s flap is backward. This is to make sure dirt doesn’t enter the pouch when burrowing.

7. Wombats Have A “Dermal Shield” That Protects Them

Wombats have a dermal shield that helps protect them.

©Julian Berry / Creative Commons

The wombat possesses a solid plate beneath its skin on the rear. The plate’s name is a dermal shield. Bone, fat, and cartilage make up the structure’s many layers. Fur and flesh cover its entire body. The wombat’s dermal barrier protects it from severe injury, although predators may still scratch its back.

8. The Wombat Butt Is Their Main Form Of Defense

Wombats use their butts to defend themselves!

©PanBK / Creative Commons

Wombats enter their burrow face first (if there is an entrance nearby) and then block the entrance with their rear end when a prospective predator approaches. They are thought to use their shield to ram a predator that is present in another region close to, inside, or even on top of a system of burrows. It’s believed that a wombat can occasionally break a predator’s skull.

9. Wombat Infants Are Born In A Very Immature Stage

An infant wombat is a joey.

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A joey is worm-like and small, roughly the size of a jellybean. Baby wombats appear helpless, but they possess a keen sense of smell. To finish developing, they climb into their mother’s pouch and affix to a teat. The child does not emerge from the pouch until it is between six and ten months old. Again, the length of time is based on the species. Between the ages of twelve and fifteen months, the common wombat stops visiting the pouch to nurse.

10. Wombat’s Excrement Is Poop Cubes

Wombat poop is cube-shaped due to the shape of their intestines!

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Wombats shape their feces with soft tissue near the end of the big intestine, causing the liquid feces to solidify into cubes. Researchers concluded that the cubes were caused by a change in the elastic characteristics of the wall in the last section of the intestine after looking at the makeup of the intestinal wall.

It is known that the creatures have limited eyesight but a keen sense of smell and that they utilize feces to mark their territory. The wombat would likely benefit from piled cubic bits of feces since they would be less likely to roll away than round pieces.


The Featured Image

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Common Wombat in the Tasmanian scenery, eating grass in the evening on the island near Tasmania.
© Martin Pelanek/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

A substantial part of my life has been spent as a writer and artist, with great respect to observing nature with an analytical and metaphysical eye. Upon close investigation, the natural world exposes truths far beyond the obvious. For me, the source of all that we are is embodied in our planet; and the process of writing and creating art around this topic is an attempt to communicate its wonders.

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