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Wombats

Infraclass: Marsupialia

Order: Diprotodontia (meaning two front teeth)

Family: Vombatidae ( adapted from an aboriginal word of Aboriginal Darug people)

Wombats are ground dwelling marsupial mammals unique to the Australian continent. Early settlers often described them as a type of badger as they have a similar type of ground dwelling lifestyle.

Baby common wombats (Vombatus ursinus) in Tasmania. image: wikimedia

Common wombat (Vombatus ursinus). image: R.Conan-Davies

Wombat scat. image: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen 

Most of the posterior of wombats are made of cartilage. This allows them to defend against predators by diving into a borrow and using their rear as a shield. They typically weigh between 20-30kgs as adults.

Curiously also wombats poo (scat) is very dry for a mammal and somewhat cubic probably due to the structure of their digestive tract and very slow digestion. The cubic structure may also help in stopping it from rolling away easily and can be used to mark out territory.