Once the young wombat becomes independent of its mother it must either find a vacant burrow or share one with another wombat willing to have a joint tenant, or it must dig one of its own (Figure 6.11). Probably it has already established at least one minor burrow where it can take shelter.
Using a technique involving the use of genetic typing of hairs, Andrea Taylor and other researchers have developed a method of remote censusing. In this non-invasive method hairs are collected by placing strong sticky double-sided tape near wombat burrows. The hairs are tested in the laboratory and their DNA markers compared. Not only individual wombats can be identified by this method, but also their sex. This method has been used to show that it is the young female wombats of all three species that leave the natal area, rather than the males. This is the opposite of what usually occurs in mammals.
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