Wombat is a
stocky, burrowing mammal of Australia. Wombats measure up to 4 feet (1.2 meters) long and
weigh from 30 to 75 pounds (14 to 34 kilograms). There are two main kinds--the common
wombat and the hairy-nosed wombat. The common wombat lives in coastal forests and feeds
mostly on grass, small bushes, and roots. It has thick brown fur. Two species of
hairy-nosed wombats live on the Australian plains and eat mainly grass. Both species have
gray fur and white hairs on the nose. Hairy-nosed wombats were once widespread but now
inhabit only small areas of land. People have killed many of the animals because they
Wombats are marsupials. Like other marsupials, wombats give birth to tiny, poorly
developed young. The offspring are carried in a pouch on the mother's belly and remain
there for at least six months.
Scientific classification. Wombats belong to the family Vombatidae. The scientific name
for the common wombat is Vombatus ursinus. The two species of hairy-nosed wombats are
Lasiorhinus latifrons and L. krefftii.
Contributor: Michael L. Augee, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer, Univ. of New South Wales.