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.
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. The wombat's pouch faces backwards so that the mother can continue to dig burrows without scattering soil over her young, which stays in the pouch until around six or seven months.
Often called badgers by early settlers due to their size and habits, shy wombats generally move slowly on their stubby legs. When threatened they can reach speeds of up to 40 kilometres an hour and maintain that speed for around 90 seconds.
Seeking reclusive wombats
High levels of excitement accompany the spotting of the nocturnal wombat, as sightings in the wild can be rare.
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, though they are known to occasionally venture beyond the burrows on cool or overcast days to forage for grass, roots and fungi.
The Melbourne Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary both feature fascinating wombat displays, giving you the chance of a burrow-eye view.
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