how many species of wombats are there?

how many species of wombats are there?

how many species of wombats are there?

Hello dear readers. In this post on Solsarin we are going to talk about ”how many species of wombats are there?  “. Continue reading to find the answer.please write your comment, Thank you for your attention.

 

 

 

how many species of wombats are there?
how many species of wombats are there?

Wombats

 

The Koala’s closest living relative, wombats are endemic to (only found in) Australia and are among the largest burrowing mammals in the world.

 

Wombats are marsupials with brown, tan or grey fur and from their stubby tails to their large skulls they can measure 1.3m long and weigh 36kg.

Often described as ‘stout’, ‘sturdy’ or ‘powerful’, they’re expert diggers with short, muscular legs and sharp claws.

They normally waddle but can run at an impressive 40kph. Best of all, they have cube-shaped poo!

 

 

There are three subspecies of the Common or Bare-nosed Wombat (Vombatus Ursinus) – mainland, Tasmanian and Flinders Island.

There are two species of hairy-nosed wombats – the Northern Hairy-nosed (Lasiorhinus krefftii) and Southern Hairy-nosed (Lasiorhinus latifrons). Neither of them have hair on their noses, although there’s short hair in their nostrils.

Where do wombats live?

 

The Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat once had a broad range across the three eastern mainland Australian states. It’s now critically endangered, restricted to only two sites in Queensland (including a recent re-introduction) and is considered one of the rarest mammals in the world.

how many species of wombats are there?
how many species of wombats are there?

The Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat is considered Near Threatened and its population is highly fragmented and declining across semi-arid parts of South Australia, with just a few records in Western Australia and NSW.

The Bare-nosed or Common Wombat, once widespread throughout southern Australia, is now found in parts of eastern NSW, Victoria, south-eastern South Australia and Tasmania. The name implies there are a lot around but in truth they’re in decline, although they’re listed by the IUCN as a species of Least Concern.

 

 

Wombats live in a variety of habitats – forests, alpine mountains, heathlands and coastal shrublands. The Bare-nosed Wombat prefers wetter forested areas, whereas the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat lives in more arid regions.

Wombat behaviour

 

All wombat species live in burrows, often creating complex networks of burrows with tunnels and chambers that can extend up to 150m in radius.

Wombats excavate these burrows in well-drained soils, often near creeks and gullies. They dig soil with the long claws on their forelegs and push it out with their back legs. They then roll on their sides to dig the walls.

 

During the breeding season chambers become nests, softened with grass and leaf-litter. Most wombats are solitary but some burrows can house a colony of ten individuals.

 

Like their relatives, Koalas, they sleep a lot – around 16 hours a day. They’re happy to share burrows, but they’re territorial about feeding grounds. They mark the boundary with scent trails and cube-shaped scats.

Why cubes? Wombats have a very long digestive process that normally takes 14 to 18 days. It has a very long digestive tract, to absorb the most nutrients and water possible, which means their digestive matter is very dry and compacted.

Wombats are nocturnal herbivores with fairly poor eyesight – they rely on smell to navigate and find food. Marking their territory with scats is important to avoid conflict. When faced with an intruder, they grunt at the wombat, chase and bite at the ears and rump.

They can travel 3km a night to eat grass, shoots, roots and shrubs (watch some eating take place below). Like beavers, their incisors are continuously growing, so they need to gnaw on hardy material like bark to wear down their teeth.

how many species of wombats are there?
how many species of wombats are there?

Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats are particularly well-suited to hot weather: they have a very low metabolic rate (it can take two weeks to digest a meal) and one of the lowest water requirements of any mammal.

As marsupials, female wombats care for their young in pouches on their underside. Like Bandicoots, the pouches open backwards so they don’t fill with soil while digging!

When first born, wombats weigh only one gram. The baby wombat leaves the pouch at about five months old, and can care for itself at seven months. Wombats can live up to 26 years in the wild.

Threats to wombats

 

In the past, countless wombats were killed for food, and by pastoralists who considered them vermin. All species are now protected across Australia, except in Victoria, where Bare-nosed Wombats are still regarded as an agricultural pest, though permits are required to control their numbers.

Habitat loss and competition for food with introduced herbivores – rabbitscattlesheep and goats – are now the biggest threats for wombats. Sarcoptic mange, sometimes spread by foxes and dogs, can also kill entire colonies.

While wombats don’t have many natural predators, they’re eaten by foxes, dingoes, wild-dogs, eagles, and Tasmanian devils.

Wombats use their tough, thick-skinned rumps as protection: if threatened, they escape to their burrow and can crush a predator’s skull between their rump and the burrow’s roof.

If startled, they can bowl over and deliver a nasty bite to humans. Best to admire these waddling wonders from afar!

What’s Bush Heritage doing?

 

We’re very proud to have Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats on Bon Bon Reserve in remote South Australia. At Bon Bon we’ve reduced grazing competition by removing stock and ripping rabbit warrens. We’ve also set up motion-sensing cameras to monitor their activity. Bare-nosed Wombats are found on Scottsdale and our Tasmanian reserves, where they’re similarly protected.

 

What do they look like?

Wombats grow to about 1.3 metres in length, and can weigh up to 36 kilograms. They have a large, blunt head with small eyes and ears, and a short, muscular neck. Their sharp claws and stubby, powerful legs make them great diggers. Wombats have been known to live for up to 27 years in captivity.

There are 3 species of wombat, two of which occur in New South Wales (NSW):

how many species of wombats are there?
how many species of wombats are there?
  • The bare-nosed wombat (Vombatus ursinus) is the most common and widespread wombat species in NSW, and has a large, naked snout covered in grainy skin.
  • The much rarer southern hairy-nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons) has larger ears than the common wombat, and its snout is coated with fine hairs. Until recently, the southern hairy-nosed wombat was thought to be extinct in NSW. They are currently listed as endangered.
  • The northern hairy-nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus krefftii) is presumed extinct in NSW.

 

how many types of wombats are in australia
Bare-nosed Wombat
Alternative name/s:
Naked-nosed Wombat, Island Wombat, Tasmanian Wombat, Forest Wombat, Coarse-haired Wombat. It is also known as a Common Wombat, a term that is increasingly misleading, as it was probably associated with the species’ historic wide population distribution, which has become more fragmented.
Similar species:

 

Bare-nosed Wombat is the only living member of its genus Vombatus, and is similar in appearance to two remaining wombat species (Southern and Northern Hairy-nosed Wombats) belonging to the genus Lasiorhinus. The main differences are the absence of hair on the nose in the Bare-nosed Wombat, its coarser hair and narrower nasal bones than in Lasiorhinus. In the early descriptions of the species by the Europeans, wombats have been linked to badgers, beavers, pigs and bears (it is because of its bear-like appearance that it has been named ursinus (Latin ursus, bear)). However, other than being a mammal, the wombat is not related to these animals: wombats are marsupials (the young develop in mother’s pouch) and not placentals, like the other aforementioned mammals.

 

Habitat

The main habitat for the Bare-nosed Wombat is the temperate forest-covered areas of southeastern Australia. The species tends to avoid rainforests and is often found in the mountainous areas. In southern Queensland and northern New South Wales it is found only in sclerophyll forest above 600 m. In South Australia and Tasmania it also occurs at lower altitudes in more open vegetation – woodland, coastal scrub and heathland.

Wombats prefer to dig their main shelters on slopes above creeks and gullies, and feed in grassy clearings.

Distribution

At the time of European settlement, 200 years ago, the Bare-nosed Wombat was wide spread from southeastern Queensland, through New South Wales along the Great Dividing Range to most of Victoria (except the northwestern corner of the state). It was also present in the southeast of South Australia, in Tasmania and on many of the larger Bass Strait Islands.

Today the species has a discontinued and fragmented distribution. It has almost disappeared from the western half of Victoria and it is absent from many parts of New South Wales where it formerly ranged. In addition, it has declined in South Australia, and is now only found on Flinders Island of the Bass Strait Islands.

Seasonality

Bare-nosed Wombat is one of the few marsupials that are active above the snowline in winter, however they appear to be less active than during warmer months. In summer, the animal is mainly nocturnal, emerging from its burrow when the air cools down, to avoid high temperatures. In general, wombats spend most of their lives (about two thirds) in their burrows.

Feeding and diet

A wombat usually leaves the burrow after sunset and begins to graze for several hours. During this time, it may return to its burrow to rest, or seek refuge, and it will return to sleep generally before sunrise. However, in cool or overcast days the animals are known to forage longer and during the day.

The main food for wombats is fibrous native grasses, sedges and rushes, and the choice of food depends on what is available at the time. Wombats seem to prefer Tussock Grass in the forest areas, and Kangaroo Grass and Wallaby Grass are favoured in open, more pastoral areas. At times when it is eating grass, a wombat will also eat dry leaves and stalks, and occasionally tear a strip of bark from a tree trunk and chew small quantities of it. In some habitats, wombats also feed on mosses, possibly as a source of water, given their low nutritional value. Anecdotal observations of wombats feeding on fungi have been reported as well.

Communication

Wombats are generally classed as solitary animals despite the overlapping ranges and occasional sharing of the burrows. Therefore, communication between two individuals is often threatening or aggressive. A warning call is usually a low guttural growl, but when a wombat is alarmed or angered, rasping hiss can also be heard. The animal repeats this high, loud call as it expels air. Sometimes the call can be a more aggressive ‘chikker chikker’ sound and/or a more guttural sound similar to that of an angry brushtail possum.

 

Life history cycle

Usually, one very small, underdeveloped wombat is born following a short gestation period (probably 30 days). It makes its way to the pouch, where it grows and develops for 6-10 months. The young then leaves the pouch and remains with its mother for further 8-10 months before becoming independent. Bare-nosed Wombats become sexually mature after two years and live up to 11 years in the wild. In captivity, individuals can live well into their twenties.

 

how many species of wombats are there?
how many species of wombats are there?
Breeding behaviours

Breeding may occur at any time of the year, with a single young being born. However, in the highlands of New South Wales, most wombats give birth during December-March, while in Tasmania there is an apparent bias towards October-January being the birthing season. On Flinders Island no births occur between September-January months.

When a female enters oestrus she becomes active and aggressive. Mating has been observed in captive wombats; the female attacked the male for about 30 minutes before allowing him to mate. The mating lasted for about 30 minutes with both male and female laying on their sides. In the wild, the courtship consists of the female being chased by the male in wide circles.

 

Economic impacts

Random Posts

In eastern Victoria the species is considered a vermin due to the damage it causes to fencing. Some landholders also blame the wombats for erosion of creek and river banks, which is often far lower compared to that caused by poor farming practices: over-stocking and over-clearing, in particular.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *