Wombat Day: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Wombats

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Wombat Day: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Wombats

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Since 2005, an unofficial holiday called Wombat Day has been observed on 22 October. So to celebrate Australian wombats, let’s take a look at what are among some of the world’s most fascinating and beautiful creatures. They are strong beyond belief, have a bum that is hard as mild steel and when they do a poop it comes out in cubes.

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  1. Wombats are not just a pretty face – they are also prolific builders. They live in burrows dug out with the incredibly strong claws. These burrows are up to three metres deep and four metres long but can include up to 50 separate entrances constructed as multi-directional escape routes from predators, which can include foxes and wild dogs.
  2. Wombats are BIG. An adult wombat weighs as much 40 kilograms (about 80 lbs.) and most of it is solid muscle and cartilage. That means that their burrows are also big. Australians must take care when walking around the bush where wombats live. If they accidentally fall into a wombat hole, they can seriously injure themselves.
  3. Remember those predators that wombats need to escape from? Well, one of the wombat’s most feared predators is the Australian dingo which is about the same size as a domestic dog but with a savage inclination. However, the wombat has a secret weapon to ward off the dingo – its big hard bum. A wombat rump is filled with seriously tough cartilage that acts like a shield. When a predator threatens, it simply pokes its bum out of its burrow to block the hole. Its rock-hard backside absorbs any attacks until the predator gives up and goes off looking for an easier meal. The wombat theme song: ‘I like big butts and I cannot lie’.
  4. That’s not to say that wombats are entirely passive when under threat. That big behind can be used to do some damage, too. If a predator is getting the upper paw, scientists believe the wombat can use its butt as a weapon to crush its attacker’s skull against the burrow wall.
  5. As cuddly as they may look, wombats in the wild are best seen from a distance. They have been known to attack if they feel threatened just like lots of other wild animals. They have razor-sharp teeth and claws that can cause nasty lacerations. Yet when used to humans they can be picked up and act much like a family pet.
  6. The wombat is a relative of the Australian koala. Both are marsupials and unique to Australia. Both also have backwards-facing pouches in which they care for their young.
  7. Yes, wombats do their poop in cubes. They are the only animal in the world to do this. No one really knows why but it may have something to do with a dry habitat and a strong digestive tract. Wombats generally do somewhere between 80 and 100 cube-shaped poos each night.
  8. There is a chocolate available in Australia that is called Wombat Poo. It is cube-shaped.
  9. Despite their weight and short legs, wombats are speedy critters. The fastest known wombat travelled at a recorded 40 kilometres an hour, which is faster than a world champion athlete like Usain Bolt.
  10. Wombats can jump. They have been known to leap over one-metre tall fences.
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