Original Caption: Phascolomyidæ. 1. Phascolomys ursinus. 2. Lasiorhinus latifrons.
The wombat is a digger. The image shows the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons) and sketches of its snout and paws. These paws, along with its particularly silky fur, make it ideally suited to burrowing. The wombat builds complex systems of tunnels and chambers that can be hazardous to farmers and ranchers which is why the wombat is still considered a pest in its native habitat of southern Australia and Tasmania. Like all marsupials, the wombat suckles its young in a pouch for several months, but wombat young become fully independent earlier than other joeys—at about nine months. The Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat lives in a particularly arid climate and, like the koala, gets its water from the plants that make up its diet. Wombats eat grasses that surround its burrows and if the winters are too hot, wombats will not breed because there wouldn’t be enough grass for the suckling mothers. Because wombats can live up to 15 years in the wild, they can wait out extended droughts without breeding.