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Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Sunday, October 03, 2010

A Wombat in my late afternoon

Several days ago I drove into my yard and came face-to-face with a Common Wombat (Vombatus ursinus). It does not warrant the name "ursinus" - meaning "bear-like". But they do get to 30 Kgs, This "Wommie", as I call them, was pretty large, but maybe not that big.

As it was still light, my first concern was that it might have been a blind Wombat, afflicted with Sarcoptic Mange. They tend to wander around in the daylight, when their disease is advanced. I have seen them in that condition before, and it is very sad to see. The Wildlife Carer experts say they can be treated.

But on fairly close examination, this fellow seemed pretty healthy. At least its eyes seemed clear, and the hair in good condition.
So I walked very slowly toward it, to get a couple of images.

It was very patient (probably because it could not see me and I was not making much noise - in fact I was barely breathing).

This was the best shot I got.

Then, in a flash, it decided to leave.
3 quick images and it was away.
(Click to enlarge).
Nice healthy strides there - a genuine gallop in fact.
I'd say that this was indeed a pretty healthy Wombat.

Incidentally, unlike local farmers who tend to regard them as "vermin", the NSW Government has regarded Wombats as a Protected Species, since 1970.


Northern Shade said...

They are so rolly polly in shape, you wouldn't expect them to get up much speed. Its outline is slightly reminiscent of a well fed bear, just about ready for hibernation.

Loss of habitat to farmland is hard enough, but it sounds like the disease will be making it difficult for the rest.

Wilma said...

That is a very sturdy little animal, Denis.

rohrerbot said...

This is why I love blogging...where in the world can you see wombats??!!! Those are really cool pics. Very exciting. Beautiful animal.

Tyto Tony said...

Can't farm 'em. What good are they? Some people/things don't change much in 200 Oz years!

mick said...

What an interesting find in your yard. I like the photos of it running away. It certainly looks healthy and full of energy.

wildwings said...

How exciting Denis - I particularly love the photos of it running! I have heard complaints about the damage they cause in gardens but how could you possibly be cross with a wombat?

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Northern Shade, Wilma and Rohrerbot (welcome).
Nice to have comments from the other end of the globe.
Lumpy, but not very cuddly, I am afraid.
For some reason, their arboreal cousins, Koalas get all the good publicity.
I am very fond of them, but farmers are not because of their large burrows. They do undermine fences (with ease), and their large burrows can pose a problem for tractors if they drop a front wheel in the hole.
Personally I worry about them, as road kills are common, and their breeding rate is very slow. We will one day realise they are endangered.
Thanks for the comments, everybody.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Tony, Mick and Barbara.
It is fairly unusual to get any sort of image of a Wombat, around here, though they are common in the district.
They love our deep soil.
Barbara I was surprised to catch it running, as normally they just walk (slowly). But I have heard a statistic that they can reach 30 Km/hr which is actually faster than Usain Bolt (Jamaican Sprinter). I don't know who measures that.
Glad you liked those images, too. Not "good" images, but worth showing for the movement they display.

Le Loup said...

Good post, thank you. I love to see wombats, and I wish we had some round here. You did well to get those parting shots, I find them the most difficult. Perhaps you might be interested in my stalking video here:

My channel at:


Denis Wilson said...

Hi LeLoup
You got wonderfully close to that Wallaby. Well done.
I was amazed it allowed you to come in behind it like that - without it looking at you.
From the height of the fence you were not crouched down even.

Miss Eagle said...

Perhaps he was a descendent of Ruth Park's Muddle Headed Wombat - and he was loverly.

B& B

catmint said...

Hi Denis, I was going to say something about the Muddle Headed wombat, but Miss Eagle beat me to it! Great photos, such a cute animal. Cheers, catmint

Luuuuuua said...

superbe fotografii,bravo

Denis Wilson said...

Welcome Luuuuua
Many thanks for your kind words.
Fortunately, Wombats are normally slow moving and they are not dangerous.
They are nocturnal - that's what makes them hard to photograph, normally.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Catmint and Miss Eagle
Thanks to both of you.
I remember him from the ABC Radio primarily - a kids show whose name eludes me, just at the moment.
I love them, and regularly see them at night, if I am driving around my local area I always drive slowly and look for them.
Lena, the Mini Schnauzer loves it when I slow down, and she even barks a bit, but I never let her out. But strangely, although they patrol my block at night, she never, ever, challenges a Wombat. Smart girl.
I have several active burrows on the block, but I cannot say they are used regularly. They seem to have numerous burrows and move around regularly.
Fortunately, they do not dig up Peonies.

Denis Wilson said...

Catmint and Miss Eagle.
Further comment.
ABC Kids program was probably "The Argonauts".
How could I forget?

Flabmeister said...

I have never managed to get an image of one running, so very well done. They vanish very quickly from our lawn when disturbed in the evening. In the day when they're sunbathing it is a bit easier, as shown by my 'follower' icon!
I do own a small scar on my foot as a result of being bitten by a mangy wombat which was attacking our previous dog on Mt Dromedary. The message is, as always, don't annoy wild animals!


Denis Wilson said...

Hi Martin
Gosh a scar from a Wombat.
And a mangy one at that.
Mind you, having seen many Wombat sculls in the bush, I know they have massively powerful heads and jaws, so I am not really surprised.
You (and that particular dog) deserve some sort of prize - not quite sure in what category.
Anyway, as you rightly say: "Don't annoy wild animals".
Thanks for that insight.

Mac_fromAustralia said...

Oh, I thought I had commented, appears not. I especially love the pics of the running wombat.
I remember the Argonauts and The Muddle Headed Wombat :-) Didn't they also serialise A Taste For Blue Ribbons?

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mac
Lovely memories of Muddle-headed Wombats.
I don't remember the "A Taste for Blue Ribbons". National Library search says: "Story of a family that struggles to keep their riding school, Blue Ribbons, afloat and of a mysterious five-legged foal. From a popular ABC radio serial."

Anni said...

Brilliant! I do love wombats. I've only once seen one running like that.