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Wombats: Vombatidae

Physical Characteristics

Wombats are stout, stocky burrowing marsupials with powerful forearms and sharp claws for digging. A marsupial is a mammal that does not have a well-developed placenta and gives birth to immature and underdeveloped young, which it then continues to nurture, often in a pouch, until the young are able to fend for themselves. Wombats are about 3.3 feet (1 meter) long and weigh from about 55 to 88 pounds (25 to 40 kilograms). Their fur varies from gray to brown.

All three species of wombat look similar. They have large heads, small ears and eyes, and short, strong necks. They have front teeth, incisors, that continue to grow throughout their life and must be worn down by the food they eat. The main physical difference among the three species is the presence or absence of hair on their nose. Male and female wombats look similar. The female has a backward-opening pouch in which she carries her young. In the past, fossils show that there were as many as nine species of wombat, including one that weighed 440 pounds (200 kilograms). Today the closest living relative of the wombat is the koala.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsWombats: Vombatidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Common Wombat (vombatus Ursinus): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, WOMBATS AND PEOPLE