Wombats

Macropus robustus 

Billabong Zoo is home to two species of wombats:

  • Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat
  • Common  Wombat

Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat

Lasiorhinus latifrons 

Wombats are Australian nocturnal marsupials, which are pouched mammals like the koala, kangaroo and possum. The coat of the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat is silver-grey or mottled brown on the back, and pale grey on the belly. The head is broad and flat, with narrow, pointy ears and small eyes. The bridge of the nose is covered with white or brown hair. The limbs are short, with small toes and flattened claws. Wombats sleep for up to 16 hours a day and they can run in short bursts up to 40kph, about the same speed as an Olympic sprinter.

Distribution and habitat

The Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat is found in small pockets of semi-arid land in South Australia and Western Australia. Although solitary by nature they live in colonies of up to 10 wombats in extensive burrow systems. (Wombats are excellent diggers).   

Diet

Wombats feed mainly on native grass, herbivorous plants and the roots and bulbs of shrubs or trees. They also eat bark from native trees and a considerable amount of dirt.

Life expectancy and breeding

They can breed at any time throughout the year; gestation is approximately 30 days. The embryonic joey crawls to the backward opening pouch and attaches to one of two teats for around five months, leaving the pouch permanently at around 10 months of age. Weaning is around 12 to 15 months of age.  Wombats first breed from about three years old. They live for around 15 years in the wild.

Conservation status

IUCN Red List:  NEAR THREATENED