Like rodents, wombats' teeth grow continuously to compensate for the wear and tear caused by the silica in grasses.
Meaning of scientific name
Vombatus is their native name in New South Wales. Ursinus is Latin for 'bear-like'.
Three: V.u.ursinus (Flinders Island), V.u.hirsutus (mainland Australia), V.u.tasmaniensis (Tasmania).
They live up to 26 years in captivity, but their lifespan in the wild is not known.
Head-body length: 90-115cm, Weight: 22-39kg.
Wombats are stocky with short limbs and tail, and powerful forelimbs and shoulders. They have massive forefeet with bear-like claws. Their coat is coarse and black, brown or grey, and they have a bare muzzle and short-rounded ears.
They live in south East Australia, Tasmania and Flinders Island.
Wombats inhabit temperate forest, heathland and mountains.
They feed on grasses, sedges, rushes and the roots of shrubs and trees.
Wombats are nocturnal, secretive and spend most of their time underground - hence little is known about them. They live in burrows up to 30m long, with several entrances.
Females give birth at any time of the year, producing a single young. It lives in her pouch for six months, after which it stays with her for another year. They become sexually mature after 2 years.
V.u.ursinus is classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List 2000 and have become extinct in parts of their former range. Wombats are threatened by habitat clearance and competition with rabbits.