Sexual characteristics

There are no obvious distinguishing marks between the sexes of wombats. In the few studies that have been done, it has been shown that females tend to be slightly larger than males of the same age, but there is so much variation in size and weight in different localities that it is not possible to generalise.

As in all male marsupials, the penis is stored within the body, not carried externally as it is in placental mammals. It is about 12-15 centimetres long when erect and it is retracted into the body in an S-shaped curve when not erect. The testes are carried in a heart-shaped scrotum, suspended by a very short stalk from the lower part of the belly.

The female's pouch contains two teats, both near the posterior end of the inner pouch wall. In an immature female or an adult that has not yet carried pouch young, the teats are small and recessed in a circular fold of skin, forming a kind of pocket, but they become gradually elongated during lactation and eventually may even protrude beyond the pouch opening. The inside of the pouch is almost hairless and the pink skin is slightly moist. A strong sphincter muscle controls the opening, keeping the pouch free of dirt while the wombat is digging and also when she is moving about in the narrow, dusty tunnels of her burrows.

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