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Southern Hairy Nosed Wombat

A Closer Look At The Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat

The initial response to any mention of the Southern hairy-nosed wombat usually is either, “Is this animal for real?” or, “Is there a Northern hairy-nosed wombat as well?” The answer to both questions is a definite yes.

Wombats are found only in Australia and there are several species of this animal. The Common wombat, of which there are three subspecies, the Australian mainland wombat, the Tasmanian wombat, and the Flinders Island wombat, the other species are the Northern hairy-nosed wombat and the Southern hairy-nosed wombat.

A Marsupial – Like their closest relative, the koala, the wombat looks something like a bear, although it can also be said to look like a cross between a rabbit and a bear or dog, whereas the koala definitely looks like a big-eared teddy bear. Neither the wombat nor the koala is related to the bear. They are marsupials, animals which carry their young in pouches, like the kangaroo. The wombat is one of the larger species of marsupial, second only to those species making up the kangaroo family, and is the largest burrowing marsupial. Whereas the koala spends most of its time in trees, the wombat, including the Southern hairy-nosed wombat, spends its time on the ground, or burrowing under the ground.

The Southern hairy-nosed wombat is found along the southern coastline of Australia, a semi-arid region featuring open woodlands, plains and savannas. The territory of this species of wombat is typically between 5 and 10 acres of land per wombat. An herbivore, the wombat eats mainly grasses and roots.

Not A Good Pet – Although wombats, being quite stocky, would not appear to be very fast, they could put a world class sprinter to the test over 100 meters. They are also excellent at burrowing and excavating, thanks to their powerfully built legs and powerful shoulders and claws. The wombat can attain a length of around 40 inches and weigh just over 50 pounds. While a young wombat may seem ideal for a pet, these animals tend to get more temperamental as they get older, and given their extremely powerful legs, shoulders, and claws, would make dangerous and destructive pets as adults. The Southern hairy-nosed wombat is somewhat more docile than the other species, but keeping one as a pet is still not advised. The wombat is, and will always be, a wild animal, and at times will behave accordingly. That said, the wombat is a curious animal, and is generally friendly around humans as long as it is left alone.

Make A Fist? – One thing that sets the Southern hairy-nosed wombat apart from the other wombat species is its hands. Other wombats can make a fist with their hands, enabling them to pick up things from the ground and also allowing them to climb. The common wombats subspecies are all excellent at climbing should the need arise.  The Southern hairy-nosed wombat cannot make a fist however, and cannot pick things up from the ground, or grasp anything for that matter. Because of its inability to make a fist, this species of wombat, along with the Northern hairy-nosed wombat, which also cannot make a fist, cannot climb.

Cute? Maybe. – The Southern hairy-nosed wombat is another in the long line of peculiar animals with peculiar names, seemingly a required feature of those that inhabit the Australian continent. When we first hear about wombats, the name conjures up a vision of a cute furry little animal. The wombat could be described as cute, and the Southern hairy-nosed wombat has longer and thicker fur than some of its relatives, but it may be just a little to big to be called cute. Cute little animals can’t dig tunnels through concrete. The wombat can’t either, but can plow with ease through material that’s nearly as hard.

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