Common Wombat, Vombatus ursinus

The common wombat (Vombatus ursinus), also known as the bare-nosed wombat or the coarse-haired wombat, is a species of marsupial that is native to Australia. Its range includes Tasmania and the mountainous areas just south of Queensland, although it is declining in drier areas of its range. It was first described in 1800 by George Shaw and it holds three subspecies.

The common wombat has a sturdy body, reaching an average length between 2.6 and 4.2 feet and a weight between 37.4 and 88.1 pounds. This species is can be distinguished from other wombats by the lack of fur on its nose. The diet of this species consists of plant materials like grasses. It is solitary in nature and primarily nocturnal, with individuals holding territories and burrows that can range from 6.5 to 65.6 feet in length. These burrows hold many side tunnels and typically have only one entrance, although smaller exits may be present.

The breeding season of the common wombat occurs every two years, producing one joey per season. Joeys are born after twenty to thirty days, after which time they will remain in their mother’s pouch for up to five months. The joeys are weaned between twelve and fifteen months of age, but will not be completely matured until eighteen months. The average lifespan of this species is fifteen years, although captive individuals can live to be twenty years of age. The common wombat currently appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Least Concern.”

Image Caption: Common Wombat (Vombatus ursinus tasmaniensis) on Maria Island, Tasmania, Australia. Credit: JJ Harrison/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)