Distribution: Southern South Australia and south-east Western Australia
Habitat: Semi-arid grass plains
Description: Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats are similar in size to Common Wombats, but have softer, silkier, grey fur; longer ears and a much broader nose. Females (like all wombat species) have a backward-facing pouch.
Diet: Wombats are herbivores and feed on native grasses. They are very good at conserving water and can go without drinking for long periods of time.
In the wild: Wombats dig large burrow complexes within which five to ten wombats may sleep during the day. By sleeping through the day, they conserve water and energy.
The tough skin and thick gristly plate on their backside confront any predator which tries to follow them down their burrow. Predators that climb over wombats are often crushed against the ceiling of the burrow.
Threats: One of the biggest threats is mange, which is caused by a mite. This causes terrible skin conditions and eventual death of the animals. Wombats are also threatened by habitat destruction and being hit by cars.
At Perth Zoo: Perth Zoo houses two Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats in the Australian Bushwalk. By breeding this species valuable information on successful wombat reproduction and husbandry techniques is gained to assist the recovery team’s work with its critically endangered cousin, the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat.
Did you know? Wombats have a very keen sense of hearing and smell, which warns them of danger. To escape, they can run as fast as 40 kph.