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Every animal is important in the world, as each one has a purpose of living. Wombats the closest living relative of koalas are only found in Australia and they are the largest burrowing mammals in the world. Wombats are mammals that support living by making healthy and nutrient soil resulting in the growth of healthier plants. But they are in threat due to many reasons and declining in numbers. Therefore the depletion of Wombats should be stopped for a better living. 

Who are Wombats? 

wombats

Wombats are large, stocky animals and are known as a marsupial or pouched animals. There are 2 species of hairy-nosed wombats which are Northern hairy-nosed and southern hairy-nosed wombats. They can be seen in brown, tan, or grey in color having a stubby tail. They are measured as 1.3 meters long and 36 kg in weight. They are known as expert diggers who have short muscular legs and claws that are sharp.

Where do they live? 

The wombats live in a variety of habitats like coastal shrublands, forests, heathlands, and mountains. The Bare nosed wombat lives in the wetter forested area and the southern hairy-nosed lives in the arid regions. 

The Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat is restricted to only two sites in Queensland and is considered one of the rarest mammals in the world. The bare-nosed or common wombats that were in southern Australia are now found in eastern parts, south-eastern South Australia, and Tasmania. 

What is its Behavior? 

They are known as nocturnal animals and spend their nights searching for food or digging. They have poor eyesight and rely on the smell to move and find their food.

They are experts in digging burrows and excavating in well-drained soils. They use their long claws on their forelegs and push it out using their back legs, and then roll on their sides to dig the walls. Wombats are known as good swimmers and during the cold days, they come out of their burrows and take sunbather and warm them up. 

They mark their territory to avoid conflicts with scats and when they see something coming to their territory they will grunt, chase and bite the ears and rump. During the breeding season, the chambers become nests that are softened with grass. Although they are solitary animals, their burrows can provide housing for ten individuals. 

The southern hairy-nosed wombats are comfortable with the hot weather and can live for years without drinking water. 

What is the diet of a wombat?

diet of wombat

They have a low metabolic rate which makes them take two weeks to digest their meal, moreover, they only need less water. They are herbivores because they only eat vegetation. They eat roots, grasses, herbs, scrub, and bark and get their water from the foods they eat. 

They have special enzymes in the stomachs to digest the tough roughage but still, it will take around 14 days for a wombat to digest a meal. 

The offspring of wombats 

The wombats mate during times when there is plenty of food. It will not mate if there is not much food. When mating the male wombats will fight for the right to mate with a female, they will chase a female in a circle until she slows down enough so the male can catch her to mate. 

The female has a gestation period of around 21 to 30 days. Every two years, the female wombat will give birth to only one young at a time. The baby wombat weighs only 2 grams and will be a size of a jelly bean. It stays in the mother’s pouch and stays there for five months. 

They become mature at 1.5 to 3 years and live 5 to 15 years in the wild and over 20 years in zoos. 

Why they are important?

importance of wombat

Wombats are important to the environment because of their digging behavior. When it digs it breaks up the hard soil and recycles organic material like leaves through the earth. They plow the furrows in the grounds for the seed to fall into and this increases the chance of the seed to grow as healthy plants. 

They take litter and debris underground with them and reduce the risks of fire.  Simply they increase the health and nutrient of the soil leading to the growth of healthier plants. 

Threats 

Wombats are now in threat, and a large number of wombats are killed for food. They are being seen as pests by the farmers and some are granted permits to shoot them and rip their burrows. Since 2012, the wombats have been observed to suffer from malnutrition throughout the lower Murray lands region due to drought.

threats of wombat

The native grasses have vanished in the areas where wombats live because they have cleared land inappropriately for farming in non-arable land followed by the overgrazing of sheep and cattle. Because of the less grass to eat, the wombats are forced to eat grasses that are on the edge of the road and they die by being by the vehicles. 

The species are now protected across Australia but in Victoria, they are considered agricultural pests. Moreover, they are eaten by foxes, wild dogs, eagles, and foxes. 

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