On the mainland Common Wombats grow to an average length of 1m and 27kg in weight, yet may reach up to 1.2m in length and up to 35kg. The Tasmanian Wombat is not as large or bulky, averaging a weight of 20kg and about 85cm in length. Their thick paws are designed for digging burrows. They also have a pouch which faces backwards to protect their young from flying dirt whilst the mother is digging the burrow.
The Common Wombat is found throughout South-east Australia and also in Tasmania. They inhabit all sorts of areas including coastal forests, alpine woodlands and grasslands.
A wombat's diet can consist of coarse native grasses, sedges, rushes, succulent plant roots and tubers and pasture grasses. Wombats are mostly nocturnal, usually coming out at night to graze when the temperature is lower. However in cold periods they may be seen out during the day either grazing or basking in the sun. They graze between 3 and 8 hours a night, during which time they may travel many kilometres and visit up to 4 burrows within their home range.
When food is plentiful they breed throughout the year. Gestation lasts for one month, then a jelly-bean sized Joey is born which attaches to a teat in its mother's pouch. The Joey will leave the pouch at 10 months but will stay with the mother for another eight to ten months. From the time the juvenile leaves the pouch it begins to substitute increasing amounts of plant material instead of milk. At between 12-15 months of age it stops suckling altogether. They commence breeding at two years and live for about 15 years in the wild or up to 20 years in captivity.
Common Wombat Profiles
There are a number of ways Minibus, or Mini, likes to spend her day. You will often find her renovating her burrows through the sandpit, chilling out under the guava tree in the shade, or having cuddles with her carers ... Oh, what a life!
By far her favourite activity is going out on her daily walk. Whether she ventures around the entire Zoo or 20 metres down the path to her favourite grazing area, she has to get out and about on her little adventures. One of the things that makes Mini so dear to us is the story behind her start to life. Upon hearing the name 'Minibus', most people look straight to her well rounded stomach for the inspiration behind her name. The name, however, is rather a sad tribute to her mum. Unfortunately Mini's mum was hit and killed by a minibus when she was crossing the road.
If it were not for a good samaritan who took the time to check her mother's pouch, Mini would not be with us. Minibus was taken to be hand-raised and now, years later, she lives happily here with us at Australia Zoo, and now she is a mum herself! It just goes to show what a little extra care and attention towards our native wildlife can produce.
Age: 8 Years (DOB 24/11/2005)
Tonka was born on 24 November 2005 and is the first male wombat to be bred at Australia Zoo. He is by far one of our cheekiest wombats and makes sure his keepers are always on their toes. Tonka is part of the 'Wandering Wildlife' team, so you're sure to see him out on his walks, which are actually more like jogs! He loves to visit all of the animals in and around the Zoo.
Tonka is a very playful Common Wombat who loves all the attention he can get. This cheeky boy truly believes the world revolves around him! You can't help but fall in love with Tonka's amazing personality; he will always make you smile.
Age: 3 Years (DOB 19/1/2010)
Wendy is bursting with character she certainly takes on her mother's (Minibus) sweet nature and her father's cheeky antics (Tonka). You can catch her taste-testing all sorts of objects whether they are edible or not, scampering about awkwardly still learning to coordinate her clumsy legs in time with each other. Of course now that she is so big she can hardly fit in Minibus' pouch and because wombats have a backwards facing pouch, you can sometimes spot an arm, leg or head hanging out. How adorable is that!