This affable chap likes to take things easy, he’ll spend about sixteen hours a day snoozing away, the rest of the time is just time for resting.
It all comes down to the nutrient poor food this fellow chooses to luncheon on. Wombats are grazers and have such an efficient digestive system they only need to eat about a third of the amount a sheep or similar grass-eater would chow down on, incredibly it will take 14 days for one meal to be fully digested. What’s more they need even less water, about 20% of a sheep’s requirement. This unbelievably slow metabolism is an adaptation to the arid, nutrient-low bush in which he lives, he also uses it as an excuse as to why he just can’t seem to fit into those britches anymore.
After this epic bit of digestion our dawdling chum will poo out a cube of dung… yes really… a cube. Wombat use their dung as a marker of their territory and it’s thought that he makes these rather angular plops so that they don’t roll away. Exactly how the wombat does this incredible bit of bottom crafting even I don’t want to know.
There are three species of wombat; the common, the southern hairy nosed and the incredibly scarce northern hairy nosed… the latter is one of the rarest mammals on the planet only living in a three square kilometre patch of protected land. Sadly the native grasses on which he barely gets a meal are being out-competed by invading species.
One last thing about this smasher his bum is tough as an old boot. If a wombat comes across a predator such as a dingo, he skedaddles to his nearest burrow. Indeed he can be there in a jiffy as he really can motor. Once the wombat is in his burrow he is really rather fine and dandy. He blocks the end with his cartilaginous derriere as any predator will have difficulty getting a purchase on his rock-hard bot. Huzzah!