Body shape and size

Their thick-set, low-slung bodies vary in size according to where they live and there is some variation between the three species.

Bare-nosed wombat adults on mainland Australia are usually about a metre long, measured from nose to tail, and they stand about 25 centimetres high at the shoulder. The average weight of mainland wombats is about 26 kilograms, but weights of 35 kilograms are not uncommon. Tasmanian wombats are slightly smaller. Robert Green and John Rainbird measured the body lengths and weights of a sample of 291 Tasmanian mainland wombats and found that the average length was about 81 centimetres and the average weight about 19.5 kilograms. In a similar study they found that the Flinders Island wombats are slightly smaller and lighter - about 78 centimetres long and 17.6 kilograms in weight.

Northern hairy-nosed wombat adults are also about a metre long and weigh from 30-32.5 kilograms, but the southern hairy-nosed wombats are smaller. Adults of this species are, on average, about 85 centimetres long and weigh about 25 kilograms.

The wombat's head is set squarely on a short, strong neck. The stocky, barrel-shaped body ends in a very small bare tail, which in an adult is completely hidden by fur. The powerful shoulders and broad pelvis reflect the wombat's burrowing habits, which are also catered for by its amazing ability to flatten out its chunky body when lying prone. I have seen an adult wombat, 24 centimetres tall at the shoulders, squeeze itself through a gap only 10 centimetres high, with little apparent effort.

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