Wombat, a large pudgy mammal, is an Australian marsupial. Wombat females have a pouch called 'marsupium' which contains the teats. The young babies are kept in these pouches. In this way, the mothers can carry the babies safely and easily. They are fed there as well. Wombats are about one meter (39 inches) in length and have short legs and a very short tail. They belong to the family Vombatidae and are mainly found in the forested, mountainous, and heathland areas of south-eastern Australia and Tasmania.
Physical Characteristics: Some wombats are of sandy color while some are brown, gray or black. Furry wombats weigh between 20 and 35 kg (44 and 77 lb). These animals are relatively smaller but they have strong muscular claws and powerful front teeth, with the help of which they dig extensive burrows. People who had come across these animals, were attacked fiercely and were severely wounded from wombat claws and bites. Some even had to rest in bed for a few days due to broken bones from the fall. These wild animals do not like human interference. Wombats are quite heavy and an angry wild wombat can easily knock an average-sized adult over. The penetrating teeth and powerful muscular jaws can inflict severe wounds.
Social Life: Unlike most other Australian animals who are listed under the category marsupials (females having pouches), wombats have a relatively larger brain. Their burrows can be described as extensive tunnel-and-chamber complexes. Usually, they (common wombats) like to lead a solitary life, but certain species prefer living in colonies. They may display acts of aggression if provoked, or if they are simply in a bad mood.
Food: They are herbivorous animals who mainly eat various types of grasses, sedges, herbs, barks and roots. The incisor teeth are adapted for biting and chewing tough vegetation.
Reproduction: Female wombats give birth to one single baby in the spring, after a gestation period of about 26 - 28 days. The babies live in the mother's pouch for about 6-7 months and are weaned after 15 months. Wombats are able to give birth to babies, once they are 18 months old.
Special Pouch: One of the characteristic feature of wombats is that they have backwards-facing pouch. The typical position of the pouch protects the young one from dirt, when the mother is busy digging.
Lifestyle: Wombats are mainly crepuscular (primarily active during twilight, at dawn and at dusk) and nocturnal (active during the night and sleeping during the day ). So you won't easily come across a wombat. Sometimes, wombats set out to feed on cool or cloudy days. You can track them easily; if you know that they leave ample evidence of their passage (distinctive cubic scats).
Classification: Only three living varieties of this animal species can be seen. They are common wombat, northern hairy-nosed wombat or yaminon and southern hairy-nosed wombat.
Hairy-nosed Wombat: The wombat whose nose is covered with fur is called hairy-nosed wombat. This type of wombat appears hairy. The fur is white or brown and soft to touch. The nose of this species is short and soft, somewhat like a pig's. The fur is also short. The fur which covers the body of this animal is fine and silky; and much softer than the common wombat's fur. They ware hunted for the fur on a large scale. One important fact about the hairy-nosed wombat is that the species is now critically endangered species.
Taming: There are examples of tamed wombats. In a captive situation, they had become quite friendly. Many parks, zoos and tourist centers have them on public display.
Loss of Habitat: It is true that wombats damage fields and pastures by burrowing extensively. They can be thus a destructive nuisance to ranchers and farmers. But, there is scarcity of space for all wombats, as human beings are acquiring more and more land for farming and for housing. One of the most noteworthy wombat facts is that they have been hunted for this behavior, for their fur or simply for sport. This type of human behavior is totally against nature. Studies reveal the fact that some species are now critically endangered, while others (the common or coarse-haired wombat) are still hunted as vermin.
Wombat facts for kids are available on the Internet. Kids may gather information on wombats from various sites. Those who love animals should not forget that it's our duty to save everything that the goddess of nature has gifted us.