Wombats are marsupials found only in Australia, but the short, stubby-legged animals are rarely held in the same regard as other native animals like koalas and kangaroos.
The fur of wombats can be silver gray, sandy or black. They have big forepaws and strong claws to facilitate burrowing. They can run short distances at 25 mph.
They weigh from 15 to 36 kg and are 28 – 47 inches tall. They can live beyond 50 years
Wombats live in woodlands, grasslands and in burrows which can be 20 ft in length. Their backsides have extra thick skin to protect them from attacks to their rear when they try to hide in burrows.
Although their wide bodies and stubby legs give them the appearance of being slow-moving, wombats can run up to 25 mph over short distances..
When it comes to mating, southern hairy-nosed females tend to bite a male’s bottom when they’re most fertile. Researchers hope this recent discovery will help captive breeding efforts to ensure the species’ survival.
However, these adorable creatures deserve some much-deserved recognition. In honor of these under-appreciated marsupials, here are eight things you might not know about wombats.
Wombats produce cube-shaped poop pellets. The peculiar shape is a result of the dryness of the animal’s feces. Wombats are known for having the driest poop of any mammal, a result of their long digestive process, which can take 14 to 18 days. This lengthy process allows wombats to absorb the maximum amount of nutrients from their food. Their intestine walls also play a role. The walls stretch unevenly as the poop slowly moves through — thus causing the feces to be cube shaped.
Wombats are adept at tunneling and their burrows are often just large enough for one animal. When an animal such as a dingo attacks a wombat, the marsupial simply turns around and uses its backside as a shield. The animals’ rears are covered with thick, tough skin, and wombats have very small tails, making them difficult to grab onto.
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