The Common Wombat (Vombatus ursinus),
The Common Wombat is a cute little mammal that is actually pretty closely related to the Kangaroo and the Koala. In fact, all marsupials in Australia share a common ancestor. What more can we learn about this little fella?
Physical Description and Behavior
Despite being small, they are not near able to be held in the hand. They can be up to 36 inches long, and weigh almost 60 pounds. Their ears are small, head rounded, a stubby tail, and short limbs that they use to burrow with. It is covered in coarse hair, which can be a darker greyish brown, all the way to a more cream color.
In the wild, they can live 12-15 years but can live upwards of 30 years when in captivity. This is a fairly long time but it is understandable as they only give birth to about one offspring at a time. Which means that they have to live longer in order to produce enough to not die out.
They are mainly nocturnal, but during the colder winter months may go out to lay in the sun for warmth. The burrows that they build can also be very intricate, containing a vast number of chambers. One important one would be the sleeping chamber, where they make a bed out of leaves and twigs. They can spend upwards of 16 hours a day sleeping as a way to conserve energy.
Habitat and Location
They live near the shores of Southeast Australia, preferring to live around creeks and streams. Their diet consists of grasses mainly but also can include moss, roots, and bark as well.
The IUCN Red List has classified them as Least Concern, but it will be important to see if this might change as a result of the recent wildfires. As of the writing of this article, their population trends are stable, and they seem to be protected in all parts of Australia.
Watch this video to find out more about these critters