Small Animals

Wombat Loving Love

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I have always absolutely adored wombats! The first time I laid eyes on those round stocky little bodies, I just fell in love. There is just something about those big round faces, sweet little eyes, and small triangle ears that could easily take home a cuteness trophy. If they didn’t win the trophy on looks alone, getting all cuddly and rolling over to elicit a belly rub would certainly do the trick!

While very cute, I do admit that these creatures are rather, well, odd looking. What exactly are they? Native to Australia these pudgy mammals are marsupials, meaning they give birth to tiny undeveloped babies that crawl into their mother’s warm pouch until they reach maturity. However these pouches are not on their tummies, they are located on their backs.

Unlike many other marsupials, the wombat is completely terrestrial, which means they spend all of their time on the ground and are unable to climb trees. Their strong barrel like bodies, short powerful legs, and long flat claws make them expert diggers. They can move up to 3 feet of dirt in a single day, making them the largest burrowers in the world! Remember those pouches and their backs? That enables them to keep on digging even when they are carrying their young.

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Wombat faces are no doubtedly super cute, but it is actually their backsides that deserve a little extra recognition. The wombat rump is extremely tough, and serves as an excellent defense mechanism. When threatened, they will dive head first into their burrow, the combination of a short tail and a super tough tush makes it really hard for a predator to grab on to. It gets better, they have cubed shaped poop. Special bones in their back enable them to produce cube shape feces; apparently this shape is not conducive for rolling away and helps them mark their territory.

Adorable, odd, quirky and unique; nature never ceases to provide us with wonderful beings to share the planet with.

 

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Wendy Aburto

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