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Mother and baby wombat in Tasmania. CC BY 2.0 / Steven Penton / Flickr

Mother and baby wombat in Tasmania CC BY 2.0 / Steven Penton / Flickr

5 things you probably didn't know about wombats

22 Oct 2017

Keywords
  • wombats
  • threatened species

Today's World Wombat Day!

 

To celebrate these short-legged, fur-barrelled Aussie marsupials, we've put together some fun facts that you probably didn't know about them.

 

So... how well do you know Australia's favourite stubby marsupial? Test your knowledge below to find out.

 

1. What shape are wombat scats (poop)?

A. Round
B. Octagon
C. Cube

 

If you guessed C, you're correct!

 

Wombat scat is cube-shaped. They act as territorial markers and in attracting a mate(!), and are left on top of rocks and logs. The cube-shape means that their poop won't roll away and can stay put in precarious locations. They also have super-tough butts (you'd have to have a tough one in order to push out a cube... ouch)!

 

 Wombat scat CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Didi / Flickr

 

2. How long is the average lifespan of a wild wombat?

A. 15 years

B. 20 years

C. 50 years

 

If you guessed A, you're correct!

 

A wombat can live up to 15 years in the wild and 20 years in captivity. They're very solitary marsupials that can only be found right here in Australia.

 

 Mother and baby wombat in Tasmania CC BY 2.0 / Steven Penton / Flickr

 

3. Which of these wombats is critically endangered?

A. Bare-nosed wombat

B. Southern hairy-nosed wombat

C. Northern hairy-nosed wombat

 

If you guessed C, you're correct!

 

The northern hairy-nosed wombat is one of the rarest land mammals in the world. Sadly, they're listed as critically endangered and can now only be found in one place – the Epping Forest National Park in Queensland.

 

 A wombat at the Devils@Cradle conservation facility, Tasmania © WWF-Aus / Madeleine Smitham

 

4. Wombat pouches are positioned backwards, opening towards the mother's rear rather than her head. Why is that?

A. For storing precious treasures they find while digging

B. For digging without getting dirt in their pouch

C. For an easier entry to the world for their joey

 

If you guessed B, you're correct!

 

Wombats are extreme diggers that can shovel several feet of hard soil at night. Their backwards pouch allows them to dig without kicking dirt into their pouch, where a joey may just be sleeping.

 

 A wombat in its burrow © Martin Harvey / WWF

 

5. An ancestor of today's wombat used to be the size of a...

A. Hippo

B. Leopard

C. Squirrel

 

If you guessed A, you're correct!

 

Back in the day, the wombat's distant relative, called Diprotodon, were as big as a hippo! Now, these stout and pudgy marsupials grow to around 1.3 metres in length and can weigh up to 36 kilograms.

 

 An Australian wombat CC0 pen_ash / Pixabay.

 

How well did you do? If you answered all the questions correctly, then you're definitely a wombat expert and have total bragging rights. If not, don't fret – at least you've learned something new!

 

Share this quiz with your friends and family to see how well they know wombats.

 

Happy World Wombat day!