Wombats in Australia: Cute, Protected and You’ll Want One

If you remember, last Friday I mentioned that “I had an amazingly cute video to show you about an Aussie native cuddly furry animal…” but I switched videos at the last minute. Well, Brisbane had had its worst storm since the 80s, so I showed you the mess made by that instead.

I promised my fluffy animal video would be showing up sometime soon, so how about now?

First a story.

When we went to Tasmania a few years ago we stayed for three nights in a country house in Launceston. It was nighttime when we got there and one of the first things I did after walking into that house (through the front door) was open the back door to go into the back garden.

When I say it was nighttime, it was pitch black outside. Couldn’t see a thing. The camera saw more than I did…

Tassie back gardenI could hear plenty though, and what I heard was some kind of animal scared witless when I opened that backdoor, so much so it just charged. It charged one way, and then it charged the other way. Then it charged back again and it did that for a while, I suppose, until it found a way out of that back garden.

Then there was silence.

Driving around the area after that event it became quite obvious to me that the most likely candidate for the beasts that ran back and forth that night was a wombat.

The wombat

Tasmania has a very large population of wombats; we saw loads and loads of them, mostly after nightfall, just wondering around by the side of the roads. I remember speaking to a local about them and she said “if you don’t get them where you live, it’s because you’ve already run them all over.

Sad, but probably true.

These days wombats are protected under Australian law, so hopefully people are driving a little more carefully.

What does a wombat look like?

Here is a very young Elizabeth posing with a wombat a few years ago…

wombatFor any of you who are not sure, this is the wombat…

Wombat close-upWombats are native to this country and found mainly in mountainous areas in south-east Australia from southern Queensland through to New South Wales, southern Victoria, south-eastern South Australia and pretty much everywhere in Tasmania.

There are three different species of wombat:

  • Common wombat
  • Northern hairy-nosed wombat
  • Southern hairy-nosed wombat

As if the name ‘wombat’ isn’t funny enough on its own.

Wombats are nocturnal, short-legged, muscular quadrupedal marsupials. According to Wikipedia who have lots of information about the wombat “Startled wombats can also charge humans and bowl them over…” so maybe I was a little fortunate that I didn’t get bundled to the ground on that night.

Wombats though are generally speaking pretty friendly creatures and I’ll bet you’ll want one after watching this video…

10 Jobs for Wombats

If any of you already have a pet wombat, do tell us about it in the comments below.

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