Just So You Know, Wombats Aren’t Badgers
Image Via Timmy Toucan [Flickr]But they used to be confused with them by early settlers. In fact, quite a few places named with the word ‘badger’ were actually supposed to be named for wombats. A few examples include Badger Creek, Victoria and Badger Corner Tasmania.
After a while they did start getting their due credit though. Wombat, New South Wales, asteroid 6827 Wombat and more are named (correctly) after the little marsupials.
They’re Totally Square
Or at least, their poops are. Their 14 day long digestion helps aid their survival in desert conditions by allowing them to digest every nutrient possible. Interestingly, this process allows them to create some of the most uniquely shaped feces in the animal kingdom –a perfect square.
They’re All Backwards
While most marsupials have a pouch that sits upwards, wombat’s pouches face down. The reason for this is the wombat’s need to dig extensive burrows. If they had pouches like kangaroos or koalas, their pouches and babies would be loaded with dirt -that would be a long 6 or 7 months of life for the poor babies living in the pouch.
Your Wombat Friends Are A Little Slow
Wombats aren’t keen on speed. They like to take shortcuts and have been known to bite their way through plants or farmer’s fences rather than walking around them –giving them the name “bulldozers of the bush.” When they need to get out of the way of predators though, it’s a whole different story. Scared wombats can run up to 25 miles per hour for a full minute and a half –about the same top speed of human runners.
Wombats Got Back
Image Via Timmy Toucan [Flickr]No, I’m not talking Sir Mix-a-Lot style, of course, he still might like the furry critters. But wombats really do have a big, strong butt. In fact, it’s their main form of defense. In the wild, both dingoes and Tasmanian devils prey on the creatures. Most of a wombat’s behind is made of cartilage, making it hard for the predator to bite through when attacking from the rear.
Their other main defensive move is made by diving into a tunnel, waiting for the attacker to put their head in the hole and then thrusting up with their massive legs. This smashes the predator’s head on the roof of the tunnel.
They Were Huge Back In The Day
The Giant Wombat was a common species even when the earliest humans began to inhabit Australia. In fact, it’s believed that the aborigines actually helped cause the extinction of these giants through excessive hunting and habitat alteration. These giant wombats were the size of rhinoceroses and were the largest marsupials in the history of the world.
When Wombats Aren’t Cuddly, They’re Terribly Vicious
Image Via Feverblue [Flickr]When held in captivity, the creatures can be made somewhat tame and even may allow park and zoo visitors to pet or hold them. On the downside, this lack of fear makes them more aggressive than their wild counterparts. As a result, a lot of people have been attacked, bit and knocked over by scared or angry wombats. One naturalist, Harry Frauca, was bitten in the leg while wearing rubber boots, trousers and thick wool socks. Despite all this protection, the wombat’s strong jaws and sharp teeth managed to leave him with a wound 2 centimeters deep.
They Adapt Well To Captivity
Image Via Shami Chatterjee [Flickr]Other than the whole attacking people for no reason thing, they seem to love being in zoos and parks. In the wild, these guys only have a life expectancy of five years. However, as captive animals, they have been known to live past 25. That’s five times as long of a life! It's surely partially due to a lack of predators, but they also live a lot more stress-free this way, which seems to have a big effect on the little guys. We should take a tip from them.
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