The Wombat is an Australian favorite. A slow and steady animal with short legs, a stumpy tail and thick brown coat. Primarily nocturnal, Wombats are rarely seen in the wild as they live in burrows under the ground and will only venture out of them at night time.
Wombats are Marsupials meaning that they have their young prematurely and carry them in the females pouch, here they stay until they are large enough to live safely outside of the pouch. Marsupials are found all over Australia, Wombats are the second largest Marsupial and have a larger brain then any other.
Strong and muscular animals with strong front and back legs perfect for burrowing. Wombats have very poor eyesight, though being so close to the ground helps them to feel vibrations and movement, as well as a keen sense of smell. In turn this makes up for the lack of good sight.
In Australia there are two different Wombat species, the Common Wombat and the Southern Hairy Nose Wombat. The main difference between these to species are their different paws. The Common Wombat uses their paws like hands, they have the ability to clench their paws to make a fist and can use them to climb. The Southern Hairy Nose Wombat does not have this ability and can not climb or use their paws as hands.
These two types of Wombats also live in different parts of Australia. The Southern Hairy Nose Wombat lives along the southern parts of South Australia and a short way into Western Australia. Where as the Common Wombat lives in Victoria, New South Wales, small parts of southern Queensland and Tasmania.
Wombats are herbivores, feasting on grass, bushes, trees, herbs, roots, fungi, mushrooms, shrubs, bark even the inner bark of certain trees, mosses, leaves and marsh plants.
Unfortunately during the Febuary 2009 Victorian Bush Fires, many Common Wombats where injured or killed. The reality of life for a wombat is that Natural Disasters and Loss of Habitat are very real threats for their species. Wombats are known for living under ground in burrows, this will help protect them from fires. In fact during the search for injured wild life after these fires there where many Wombats found with the top of their backs burnt as they had begun burrowing and hadn't gotten far enough.
Luckily there are many wildlife carers and sanctuaries placed throughout Australia, in New South Wales there is a specialist Wombat Sanctuary here they help rehabilitate and provide medical care to sick or injured Wombats.
Many Wombats are killed or injured when hit by cars on Australian roads, if you find a dead animal it is best to check its pouch to see if there is any young in there. If a baby Wombat has survived an accident such as this they will have suffered alot of stress and trauma, it is best to keep it warm wrapping it in blankets and take it to the local wildlife organisation or to a local carer.
If you have found an injured or sick Wombat, be very careful as when they are frightened could hurt you. Wombats have very shard claws and teeth. In this situation it is best to contact a local wildlife carer for assistance and advice before doing anything to help the animal.
There are many rescue organisations in Australia and many registered wildlife carers, the phone numbers for these carers can be found or located in the local telephone directory.