Reflections of a Wombat

Chewbacca in the Tama Zoo, Tokyo (photographed on Sept.22, 2000)

We wombats are not big names in Japan.
We aren't so noticeable because our colour is somber such as dark grey, silver-grey, grey-brown and so on.

However, we are rather popular in our native country, Australia.

We are often called bears, wild boar, pigs, rats or mice, squirrels, rabbits, and even cats by people who see us for the first time, but we are of the wombat family; genus and species are Vombatus ursinus.
Also, we are related to koalas.

A lot of people say, "Huge!"when they see us. We wonder if we are believed to be smaller?
The visitors often say that we always sleep, however, it's night for us when they visit because we are nocturnal animals.

Actually, we have short legs and rear feet which are turned inward.  
Mind you, the big fans of us wombats say that they like our short legs and long body.
Some say even the soles of our feet are very cute.

The average weight of a wombat is about 25kg, but some can weigh 35kg to 40kg.
Though the adult wombat is that big, a newborn wombat is very small--- about the size of a small bean.
As we are marsupial animals, we stay in our mothers' pouches for about seven months after birth.
You know our rump is as solid as a stone and it can be used a weapon.
It is helpful for us wombats in the bush to protect ourselves.
If chased into the burrow by a dingo for example, we will lift our rump and crush the attacker's head against the roof of the burrow. We are strong.

Both our incisors and our molars are rootless and continue to grow throughout life.
It is unique, isn't it?

We eat grass(mainly blades of grass) and roots as wombats are herbivorous.
We sometimes dig around farms and eat farm crops because we don't know that we mustn't dig farmland.
The wombats in the zoo eat carrots, sweet potatoes, green grass, hay, apples and so on.

Our claws are so strong and long that we are good at digging.
We dig burrows and live in them, which sometimes extend 30 meters long.          

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* There are three kinds of wombats, the Common wombat, the Southern Hairy-nosed wombat, and the Northern Hairy-nosed wombat. 'The wombat' in this web site means the Common wombat.