Wombats are nocturnal, solitary animals occurring in a wide variety of habitats throughout Australia.
All wombats are protected as they are native Australian animals. Some species of wombat like the Southern hairy-nosed wombat are endangered in NSW.
Most wombats seen in NSW will be the Bare-nosed wombat, also known as the Common wombat. Common wombats have a large nose covered in grainy skin and Southern hairy-nosed wombats have a snout covered in fine hairs. Wombats can grow up to around 1.3 metres in length and weight up to 36 kilograms.
Wombats live in burrows that can be up to 30 metres long and they may share these with other wombats although they are very territorial with their feeding grounds. Wombats usually stay in their burrows during the day, they normally come out at night to feed although they can be seen out early in the morning and at dusk and they’ll travel up to 3 kilometres a night looking for food.
Wombats can reproduce after they reach 2 years of age and they normally breed between September and December. Wombats are marsupial mammals and the newborn wombat, which weighs about 1 gram and is less than 3 centimetres long, has to crawl from the birth canal into the mother's pouch. The pouch faces backwards, which protects the joey while the mother is digging. Young wombats will normally stay in the pouch for 7-10 months.
Many wombats suffer from mange, which is caused when mites burrow under the wombat's skin. Symptoms include fur loss, crusty and itchy skin, constant thirst and hunger, diminished vision and hearing. If left untreated mange can result in a slow, painful death.
In many cases wombats with mange can be successfully treated. However, the topical treatment needs to be applied for an extended period of time, often using devices placed in front of burrows. You can find out more by reading our brochure on wombat mange.
WIRES online mange treatment course is designed to help landowners or other concerned community members who are or would like to be, actively involved in treating wombats with mange.
You can donate to our Wombat Mange Treatment Fund to help us raise funds for equipment and medication to enable us to treat more wombats with this horrendous disease.
If you see a wombat potentially suffering from mange, please contact your local wildlife organisation to organise an assessment. Sometimes injuries from animal attacks can be incorrectly thought to be mange and it's critical to make sure the wombat is being treated correctly.
If you find a sick, injured or orphaned wombat please call WIRES Rescue Office 1300 094 737 or fill in our Rescue Form.
You would need to wait for a rescuer to assist an adult wombat, however, if you found a joey alive in the pouch e.g. if the mother was hit and killed by a car, please place it in a quiet, dark, warm place, ideally wrapped in a towel in a ventilated box or carrier with a lid, while you transport it to the nearest vet or wait for a rescuer. If you go directly to the vet you can let WIRES know which vet you’ve taken the wombat to and we will follow up with the vet directly to bring the joey into care, after they have been vet assessed and received any necessary treatment.
If a wombat joey loses its mother and has to come into care, they can stay in care longer than any other wildlife species, sometimes requiring care for up to 2 years before they can be released back into the wild.
Some of the content on this page has come from the OEH website: www.environment.nsw.gov.au
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