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Bare Nosed Wombats are short-legged, muscular quadrupedal marsupials of the family Vombatidae that are native to Australia.

Living species are about 40 in. in length with small, stubby tails and weigh between 44 and 77 lb.

They are adaptable and habitat tolerant, and are found in forested, mountainous, and heathland areas of southern and eastern Australia, including Tasmania, as well as an isolated patch of about 740 acres in Epping Forest National Park in central Queensland.

Wombats dig extensive burrow systems with their rodent-like front teeth and powerful claws.

One distinctive adaptation of wombats is their backward pouch. The advantage of a backward-facing pouch is that when digging, the Wombat does not gather soil in its pouch over its young.

Although mainly crepuscular and nocturnal, Wombats may also venture out to feed on cool or overcast days.

They are not commonly seen, but leave ample evidence of their passage, treating fences as minor inconveniences to be gone through or under.

The name “Wombat” comes from the now nearly extinct Dharug language spoken by the aboriginal Dharug people, who originally inhabited the Sydney area.

The Bare Nosed Wombat was first recorded in January 1798, when John Price and James Wilson, a white man who had adopted aboriginal ways, visited the area of what is now Bargo, New South Wales. Price wrote: “We saw several sorts of dung of different animals, one of which Wilson called a “Whom-batt”, which is an animal about 20 inches high, with short legs and a thick body with a large head, round ears, and very small eyes; is very fat, and has much the appearance of a badger.”

Wombats were often called badgers by early settlers because of their size and habits. Because of this, localities such as Badger Creek, Victoria, and Badger Corner, Tasmania, were named after the Wombat.

The spelling went through many variants over the years, including “wambat”, “whombat”, “womat”, “wombach”, and “womback”, possibly reflecting dialectal differences in the Darug language.