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Wombats: Vombatidae

Common Wombat (vombatus Ursinus): Species Account

Physical characteristics: Common wombats have stocky bodies that ranges from 35 to 45 inches (90 to 115 centimeters) and short, stumpy tails only about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) long. They can weigh anywhere from 48.5 to 86 pounds (22 to 39 kilograms). Their short, coarse fur is black, brown, or gray, and they are distinguished from the hairy-nosed wombats by their bare muzzles.

Geographic range: Common wombats are found in southeastern Australia, Tasmania, and Flinders Island.

Habitat: Common wombats prefer open forests and woodlands with well-drained soil that is easy to dig.

Diet: These animals are herbivores and eat mainly native grasses and roots.

Common wombats are active at night and rest in their burrows during the day. Their burrows can be 100 feet (30 meters) long and 6 to 7 feet (1.8 to 2.1 meters) under the ground. (Norman Owen Tomalin/Bruce Coleman Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

Behavior and reproduction: Common wombats live alone and are active at night. They do not often share their burrows with other wombats. They have a home range that usually contains several burrows.

The young can be born at any time of the year. They remain in their mother's pouch for about six months, and continue to stay with the mother outside the pouch for about another twelve months. Males do not help raise their offspring.

Common wombats and people: In some areas, this wombat is considered a pest by farmers and is shot or poisoned.

Conservation status: These animals are not threatened, even though their habitat has been reduced by development. In many parts of their range, this animal is common. ∎



Cuppy, Will, and Ed Nofzinger. How to Attract the Wombat. Boston: David R. Godine, 2002.

Finney, Tim F. Mammals of New Guinea, 2nd ed. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995.

Menkhorst, Frank. A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia, 2nd ed. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Nowak, Ronald M. Walker's Mammals of the World. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995.

Triggs, Barbara. The Wombat: Common Wombats of Australia, 2nd ed. Sydney: New South Wales University Press, 1996.

Web sites:

Marsupial Society of Australia. http://www.marsupialsociety.org (accessed on June 30, 2004).

Marinacci, Peter. Wombania's Wombat Information Center. http://www.wombania.com/wombats/index.htm (accessed on June 30, 2004).

"Wombats." Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service. http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/npws.nsf/Content/Wombats (accessed on June 30, 2004).

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