Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat

Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat

Wombat À Narines Poilues Du Queensland, Wombat À Nez Poilu De Queensland

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Infraclass
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Lasiorhinus krefftii
Population size
115
Life Span
25 yrs
TOP SPEED
40 km/h
WEIGHT
30-32.5 kg
HEIGHT
40 cm
LENGTH
80-100 cm

The animal is so called due to the characteristic short, brown colored fur on its muzzle. Like the other two species of the wombat family, The Northern hairy-nosed wombat has a stocky body. The tail is short, and the legs are short and solid. One of the rarest mammals in the world, this animal is also the largest herbivorous burrowing mammal. Generally, males and females of this species look alike. However, males are noticeably shorter than females, having stockier shoulders and thicker necks.

Distibution

In the 19th century, the Hairy-nosed wombats were distributed throughout New South Wales and Victoria (Australia). However, these animals currently have a very limited range, restricted to the Epping Forest National Park, which is located northwest of Clermont (Central Queensland). Preferred habitat of this species is semi-arid sandy grassland as well as gum tree woodlands, including these of eucalypt and acacia.

Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat habitat map

Geography

Continents
Countries

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Due to its solitary lifestyle, these animals are extremely difficult to see in the wild. Northern hairy-nosed wombats are known to build warrens - large, long and complex tunnel systems, burrowed deep in sand. One warren may be enclosed in an area of up to 300 ha. Tree roots serve as a reliable roof to larger tunnels of these warrens. Each burrow has a number of entrances, which connect with the single warren. Northern hairy-nosed wombats do not tend to share the same burrow with conspecifics, though they are known to use burrows, constructed by previous generations. Individuals of different sexes can sometimes be found together. Home range of each wombat is about 15 acres. Northern hairy-nosed wombats feed during the night. In the early morning, they often sunbathe around their tunnel entrances.

Group name

Diet and Nutrition

These herbivorous animals mainly consume roots, herbs as well as various grasses.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
during spring and summer months
BABY CARRYING
1 joey
INDEPENDENT AGE
12 months
BABY NAME
joey

There's very little data on reproduction and gestation of this species due to lack of observations in the wild. It's known that have a monogamous mating system, where each individual mates with only one mate. Hairy-nosed wombats mate during spring and summer months, while young are born in November-March. It is possible that heavy rainfalls in winter before the mating season increase birth rate. Female yields a single baby, which remains in the pouch of its mother for about 6 - 9 months. Weaning occur at one year old.

Population

Population threats

Northern hairy-nose wombats presently suffer from alteration of their natural habitat. These wombats are occasionally poisoned as well as hunted by dingoes. They compete for food with native species. In addition, drought and competition with introduced grazers negatively affects the population number of Northern hairy-nose wombats.

Population number

According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of the Northern hairy-nosed wombat is 115 animals. Although numbers of this species remain stable, it is currently classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • The word 'wombat' derives from the language of Darug people, aborigines of Sydney area (Australia).
  • Northern hairy-nosed wombat is the largest member of the wombat family.
  • Slow and clumsy at first glance, this animal, however, is capable of running as fast as 25 miles per hour for about 1.5 minutes.
  • These exceptionally good diggers are able to move up to 3 feet (0.9 m) of dirt per day. They burrow long and complex warrens (tunnel systems) due to their barrel-shaped bodies as well as long claws on their wide, powerful feet.
  • An unusual feature of these marsupials is that their pouches face backward. Due to opening towards the female's back, the pouch remains clean from dirt as the wombat digs the ground.
  • Wombats may digest their meal for as long as 14 days because of their slow metabolism, which is highly beneficial to these animals in their hot and dry environment.
  • Like rodents, wombats have constantly growing incisors. In order to control this continuous growth, the animals gnaw on bark or tough vegetation.
  • This animal has a hard cartilage on its tough backside, which is difficult for predators to destroy. When threatened, it runs away, fleeing headfirst into a nearby tunnel, blocking the entrance with its solid rump and relying on its cartilage. This cartilage, combined with lack of a tail make the Northern hairy-nosed wombat well protected against attacks of local predators.

References

1. Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_hairy-nosed_wombat
2. Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat on The IUCN Red List site - http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/11343/0

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