[2015] jack mcroberts: Wombat

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by msanders308
Last updated 5 years ago

Discipline:
Science
Subject:
Zoology
Grade:
4

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[2015] jack mcroberts: Wombat

Wombat

DietAll wombats are herbivores. They feed on grass, roots, bark and even fungi in their habitat. Throughout wombats' lives their teeth never stop growing. It's because, like horses' teeth, wombats don't have roots in their teeth. The teeth need to keep growing because there is a chemical in the grass, called silicates, that grinds down their teeth. They are heavy animals but they do not eat very often. Wombats have a fairly limited diet; they eat the plants that are around them.

Physical CharacteristicsWombats have several unique physical features.They are nocturnal and eat a night. The common wombat has gray and brown thick fur. Wombats use their feet and rough hands to dig their homes. They use their claws to scoop up the soil and with their feet they kick the soil backwards. Wombats can dig burrows up to 100 feet long. They are short and plump. Wombats have a weight of 30 pounds to more than 80 pounds, and they can be as big as three feet in length. Wombats have wide heads, small eyes, and pointy ears. Wombats have surprisingly advanced brains and a good sense of hearing and even a good sense of smell! As you can see, wombats have many unique characteristics and are fun to learn about.

HabitatWombats are Australian marsupials that live in woodlands or grasslands. There are three living types of wombats and all live in different habitats.Common wombats live along the Southeast coast of Australia and nearby Tasmania, and like cool wet forests and mountain ranges. The Northern Hairy-Nosed wombat lives in Northeast Australia. Last but not least, the Southern Hairy-Nosed wombat lives in southern Australia and lives in dry grassland plains. Wombats sleep and live in burrows, most of the time alone. Summing it up, different wombats live in different parts of Australia.

AdaptationsOver the years, wombats have had to make many adaptations to live in their environment. Wombats dig burrows for a reason. They stay alive because their body temperature is hard to control and gets too warm or too cold. Burrows that wombats dig, on the other hand, are not too cold and not too hot. Secondly, wombats have grown feet and hands that are specially made to dig the burrows that they live in. Finally, wombats have adapted to conserve energy so that way they can eat less and drink less. Wombats have had to make many adaptations over the years to survive.

PredatorsAs you probably can imagine, humans are the source of threats to wombats' existence. Humans are destroying the common wombats' habitat -- forests. Humans have also brought in cattle and sheep, which is forcing Northern Hairy-Nosed wombats to almost go extinct. Not long ago, there were only 70 Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombats left. These wombats are dying because cattle and sheep are eating the grasses that wombats need to live on. Other reasons wombats are dying is because people hunt them for their fur, for entertainment, and to stop wombats from digging burrows on the peoples' properties. Wombats don't just die because of humans though. They also have to defend themselves against dingoes, which are Australian wild dogs, and Tasmanian devils. Baby wombats are dinner for even more animals: eagles, owls, foxes and cats. But if humans don't watch out, there could be no Northern Hairy-Nosed wombats left 100 years from now.

ReproductionSince wombats are marsupials, they care for their young in pouches. Baby wombats, known as joeys, are born three to five weeks after their parents mate. They come out the size of a bean. They are tiny. They live in their mothers' pouches and drink milk there. After seven months, a joey can care for itself. A wombat can have its own young at about three years old. Wombats can only have up to two babies (usually one) at a time. These are some characteristics of a wombat reproducing.

NicheWombats help their environment by digging burrows. They bring leaves and other junk into their burrows which prevents forest fires above ground. Wombats, with their digging, recycle organic materials and break up soil. Wombats also help plants by spreading seeds, digging holes, and moving water in soil. Wombats' digging ability helps them and their environment, but their digging could also be their downfall because humans don't like holes in their land.

Interesting FactsWombats have many cool facts about them. For one thing, a female wombat's pouch opens backwards. Wombats are also very heavy and weigh up to three times the weight of a dog of the same size. Also, koalas are wombats' closest relatives. Wombats' waste is almost perfectly the shape of a cube. When the waste hardens, it can be used for building blocks. The oldest living wombat is named Hamlet. Hamlet is 33 years old. The oldest known wombat of all time was 34 years old. Hamlet is almost there! He lives in the Toronto Zoo and was born in Sydney, Australia. He was brought to North America in 1984. His zoo keeper says he eats something close to what wombats get in the wild. His diet is hay, hay cubes and vegetables like carrots. Hamlet has one offspring of his own. Hamlet, like all wombats, are really interesting creatures.

I'm 33-year-old Hamlet, the oldest-living wombat.


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