Lifespan

Yet another detail of the wombat's life history about which there is little information is its normal life-span in the wild. One wombat, tagged during John Mcllroy's study, was known to be at least nine years old. A hand-reared male wombat lived for at least 15 years in the forest near my home. Captive wombats have lived for as long as 30 years, but their average life expectancy is about 20 years. It seems reasonable to assume that, in the wild, a wombat should live for at least 15 years, provided, of course, that it does not succumb to any of the hazards which beset it.

Plate 1 The northern hairy-nosed wombat is one of the world's rarest mammals, found only in one small colony in central Queensland. Photo: © Dave Watts

Plate 2 The southern hairy-nosed wombat is found in parts of semi-arid country in South Australia. Photo: © Dave Watts

Plate 3 The bare-nosed wombat's range has declined drastically since European settlement.

Plate 4 A predominance of black hairs, some with gold bands, produces this coat colour. Photo: C Marks

Plate 5 An ash-white bare-nosed wombat on the coastal dunes at Wilson's Promontory in southern Victoria. Photo: M Schulz

Plate 6 The light grey coat of this bare-nosed wombat in Tasmania is stained by red clay.

Photo: R Green

Plate 7 A brown bare-nosed wombat feeding on marram grass on the coastal dunes in southern Victoria. Photo: m Schulz

Plate 8 Southern hairy-nosed wombats find weak points in the limestone shelf and dig through to softer ground beneath it. Photo: © Mark Newton

Plate 9 Many burrows of the northern hairy-nosed wombat are dug where the sand is soft and deep. Photo: A Horsup

Plate 10 A wombat first loosens the soil with its front paws ... then scoops out the loose earth. Photo: G Parker

Plate 11 The hind feet are used to push the earth away from the burrow as the wombat backs away. Photo: G Parker
Plate 12 A dust-bathing wombat, scooping loose soil over its flanks. Photo: G Parker
Plate 13 This bare-nosed wombat has dug a deep hole in the snow to find mat-rush leaves. Photo: I Pulsford
Wombat Embryo

Plate 14 The newborn wombat is only about 1.5 centimetres long. This tiny, embryo-like wombat is probably only about two weeks old. Photo: R Green

Plate 15 At six weeks of age the eyelids are still fused but whiskers have erupted. Photo: B St John

Plate 16 At two months the lips are well developed but still joined laterally, and firmly attached to the teat. Photo: C Marks

Plate 17 By the sixth month, fine fur covers most of the body; the nose and sole of the feet are still pink. Photo: G Parker

Plate 18 At about seven months the young ventures out of the pouch, but keeps close contact with its mother.

Photo: © Dave Watts

Plate 19 The young often remains 'at heel' for several months after weaning.

Photo: © Dave Watts

Plate 18 At about seven months the young ventures out of the pouch, but keeps close contact with its mother.

Photo: © Dave Watts

Plate 19 The young often remains 'at heel' for several months after weaning.

Photo: © Dave Watts

Plate 20 An unusual method of travel for a young wombat! This 'back young' was observed in the Kosciusko National Park.

Photo: G Smith

Plate 22 A wombat suffering from Plate 23 Caring for an orphan wombat sarcoptic mange. This is the wombat's requires many hours, day and night, for most serious disease; the weak, several months. emaciated animal will die if it is not treated. Photo: P Helmore

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment