Wombat: Habits, Diet and Other Facts
Wombates are marsupial mammals that inhabit the continent of Oceania. They belong to the Order Diprodontia, the same as the koalas, and to the Family Vombatidae.
Wombates are grazers, which means they feed primarily on grass and grass. Like rodents, they have two pairs of well-developed incisors: one in the maxilla (top of the mouth) and one in the jaw (bottom of the mouth). This combination is very efficient for cutting grass and grass close to the base, amplifying the absorption of nutrients by the wombates.
Vombats are stocky, the body is massive and rounded with the limbs proportionately short. Although short, the limbs have reinforced musculature in addition to five wide claws that help the wombates to dig even in very hard soils.
In general, they are solitary animals, spending much of their time resting in their burrows. These burrows can be simple, or a large complex of tunnels. After their period of activity, which is usually nocturnal but may be partially diurnal during the winter, the wombates can use any of the burrows to sleep.
A peculiar curiosity to say the least, they are the only animals in the world whose feces are cube-shaped. Several hypotheses were raised about this. One of them would be that by living in a dry environment, the wombates would use all the nutrient water to hydrate themselves, which would generate more cubic shaped feces. The researcher Patricia Yanga found that the shape of the stool may be related to the low elasticity and shape of the bowel in the wombate, which would affect the shape of the stool, making it more square.
There are currently three species of vombate:
The common wombat is the largest species, being more than one meter long and weighing up to 40 kg. The coat is grayish-brown and the belly is usually a little lighter than the back. The head is broad, large and the nose is voluminous and flat. The tail is very short, so short that it is difficult to be seen as it is hidden in the dense coat. They are nocturnal and spend their days sleeping in their dens, which can reach 20 meters in length. These burrows can have several different entrances. In addition, common wombats can have more than 10 burrows in their territory, and each night they can visit up to four different burrows.
The northern furry-nosed wombat is a little smaller than the common wombat, reaching a meter in length and can weigh almost 30 kg. The coat is silky, grayish in color, in some cases darker, tending to black. Unlike the common wombat, which has rounded and short ears, in this species they are larger, slender and pointed. The nose is prominent and robust. Unlike the common wombat, the species can build community nests, called nurseries.
The southern furry-nosed wombat is the smallest of the species in length (it rarely reaches a meter), but in weight it can exceed 30 kg. The coat has shades of gray and brown on the back and is lighter on the ventral region. The ears are thin and pointed. This species also usually builds community tunnels, which can be occupied by five to 10 vombates and cover an area of up to 300 meters.