The stocky wombat is Australia's native bulldozer, burrowing deep under the earth to make extensive networks of tunnels that provide a safe haven for the marsupial's favourite pastime, snoozing.
High levels of excitement accompany the spotting of a wombat, as sightings in the wild can be rare. Wombats are noctural creatures, though they are known to venture beyond the burrows on cool or overcast days to forage for grass, roots and fungi.
The wombat profile
The wombat boasts a body length of up to one metre, and weighs between 20 and 35 kilograms. Their fur can vary from a sandy shade to brown, or from grey to black. Like its distant relatives, the koala and kangaroo, the wombat gives birth while the baby is still in its embryonic stage and it stays in the mother's pouch until around six or seven months. The wombat's pouch faces backwards so that it can continue to dig burrows without scattering soil over its young.
Often called badgers by early settlers due to their size and habits, wombats are shy, introverted marsupials. They generally move slowly on their stubby legs, though when threatened they can reach speeds of up to 40 kilometres an hour and maintain that speed for around 90 seconds.
Seeking reclusive wombats
With a bit of luck and some eagle eyes, you can spot wombats in Wilsons Promontory National Park in Gippsland and Tower Hill Game Reserve on the Great Ocean Road. Dusk is when you're most likely to see them emerge from their burrows to graze on grassy surfaces.
The Melbourne Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary both feature fascinating wombat displays, giving you the chance of a burrow-eye view.