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- Wanna know something that's really
kind of interesting, and a little gross, I guess.
They have a bone in their backs here,
that when they actually poop it's kind of like one of those
Play-Doh fun factory machines. Their poop is square.
- [Mark] What?
- [Coyote] Square poop.
(cougar yell)
(jungle drums)
(lion roar)
(lively music)
- Australia is home to
a plethora of unique animal species.
And whether they are dangerous,
and potentially deadly, like the eastern brown snake,
or absolutely adorable, like the brushtail Possum,
we were excited to be getting the cameras up close.
In this episode, we are back at the Billabong Sanctuary.
Located in Nome, a small town just
south of Townsville in North Queensland,
this family owned and operated establishment
is home to over 50 native species.
Proudly listed as one of Queensland's
top eco-tourism attractions,
for nearly 35 years they have been
contributing to conservation effort
while also providing the public
with a hands-on education about wildlife.
Today, I will be getting to know
one of their permanent residents.
A unique marsupial known as Wanda the wombat.
All right, guys. Now, the next animal
we're going to meet is just over here off to the side.
And this is one of the most bizarre looking mammals
I think I've ever seen.
Have you guy ever heard of a wombat?
No? You haven't? Maybe you have?
Well get ready, because we're about to meet Wanda.
All right. Bring her in.
Oh, this is gonna be wild. Oh look at you. Oh my goodness.
- [Mark] Sure that's not an oversized Koala, Coyote?
- It kind of looks like a giant gerbil meets a guinea pig.
But, this is in fact marsupial.
Look, this is her rump right here.
Let me see if I can kind of
get her to turn in this direction. Can I turn her around?
- [Wombat Handler] You can push her-
- Push her up like this? Oh, she's heavy.
Oh, there you go. Let's put you right here.
What do you think? You wanna lie down right there?
There we go. Oh, look at that creature.
Like a big bump on a log.
All right, I'm gonna actually come behind her here.
I think that may be easier.
Look at that. That is a wombat.
Have you ever seen a wombat before?
- [Mark] Never.
This is my first time ever being
in contact with a wombat.
Look at that adorable face.
Hi, how are you doing?
Well, if she play bites,
they do have rodent-like teeth.
And they use those teeth to gnaw through
bark, grasses and roots.
And how do you get to those roots?
You use those incredible claws, right?
Can we take a look at your claws?
Because that is one of the most
impressive things about the wombat,
is their ability to dig.
I know. We're just starting to get to
know each other though, right?
Whoa, those claws are impressive.
Now, they have these big paws, right?
They spread out like this.
Almost like the claws of a badger.
And they dig, dig, dig, dig, dig
down deep into a burrow.
And that's where they
will get down to the good roots, right?
Are the roots better a little deeper down?
Now, this is a marsupial related to koalas.
And this is like the koala of the ground, right?
They don't actually climb up into trees,
but believe it or not, this stout little animal,
if it needs to, can move at
speeds of close to 25 mile an hour.
So, short little legs, plump body, and incredible speed.
You almost look like a groundhog.
Did you know that?
We have groundhogs in Ohio, and very similar coloration,
but you are not related to a groundhog, are you?
No. Not at all.
- [Mark] Wanda looks kind of sleepy.
- She definitely looks sleepy right now, doesn't she?
Now, they're primarily nocturnal so-
- [Mark] You're boring the wombat, Coyote.
- Is this not interesting enough for you?
You know you're on camera right now.
You're gonna be on YouTube.
You're gonna be a star.
I really want to see you as paws.
The paws are so impressive. There we go.
(jungle drums) Oh.
- Yeah, I saw that. I saw that. There we go.
Well at least it got you up and standing, huh?
Okay, now we can see the paws.
All right guys, zoom in on the paws there,
and look at those claws.
- [Mark] Oh, they're serious.
- Super impressive, right?
Now, look at the size of her body. Oh, I know.
Oh, I'm not going to make any sudden movements, I promise.
Now, if they're chased by a predator,
and they start to go into the ground,
come around the back side.
Let's take a look at the wombat's rump.
Come back here. You stay put.
All of the backside of the wombat
is a solid mass of cartilage.
And Mark, come up slowly here.
See if you can feel the backside of this creature.
Not only is the fur incredibly course,
but this is solid right there.
So, what they will do is just kind of
push their rump up out of the back of the hole.
And a predator can't actually get to them.
You wanna know something that's really kind of interesting,
and a little gross, I guess.
See I'm right here by the back end of the wombat.
They have a bone in their backs here,
that when they actually poop,
it's kind of like one of those
Play-Doh fun factory machines.
Their poop is square.
- [Mark] What?
- Square poop.
- [Mark] Why?
- Now, why? Good question.
Now, they only poop about every 14 days, right?
It takes that long for all the bark and roots
and grasses to process through their system.
And then when they drop out that square poop,
they actually use their poop to mark their territories.
So, scientists think that they're square
so that they don't roll away.
Or I'm guessing in many instances,
so that dung beetles don't come in
and roll them away.
There are many species of dung beetle here in Australia,
and those beetles will push the turds away.
However, if they're square, they will stay put,
and then the territory is marked.
Pretty cool, huh?
- [Mark] I guess. That's kind of weird.
I'm kind of on the business end of the wombat here.
So, let's come back around to the front.
It's amazing. She is so solid.
The mass of this creature's body is very impressive.
Here's one thing that's also really interesting.
Now, this is a female, right?
Because they're marsupials, they have pouches, right?
Because they are diggers, you wouldn't want to be
throwing all of that dirt into your pouch, right?
So kangaroos and koalas have pouches that face forward.
The female wombat has a pouch that faces backwards.
So, I don't think she's gonna let us
kind of hold her up and see that pouch.
But, the pouch does face backwards
so that when they're digging,
that dirt doesn't go inside and get on the joey.
Right? You don't want to get dirt
on your joey, do ya?
- [Mark] So Coyote, is this wombat fully grown?
- It is fully grown, right?
- [Wombat Handler] She will get
a little bit bigger that this.
- Little bit bigger.
- [Mark] Bigger? Oh wow.
- [Wombat Handler] She's actually a small wombat.
- [Mark] This is a small wombat. (laughter)
- Oh, this is a small wombat. So, what's the heaviest-
- [Wombat Handler] 25 kilograms.
They can get as big as 30, 40 kilograms.
- 30 to 40 kilograms wow, that's a big creature.
Oh, we got some food.
All right, well let's see if Wanda wants to eat.
Carrot. Yes. Let's try that.
Wanda. Let me try it first.
(adventurous music)
That's actually a really good carrot.
Wanda, carrot? Okay. (crunching)
- [Mark] Oh yeah.
- Now we're friends. All right.
Well, I've found a way to bond with the wombat.
It's called a carrot.
You know, carrot is one of my favorite snacks.
It's a healthy snack, Wanda. Just so you know.
I'm very proud of you. (crunch)
There you go. Yeah, now let me see if I can
kind of like hold it up like this.
Let me see if you can see those teeth.
(lively music) (crunch)
Oh, crushers right there.
And I see why she's able to chew through bark.
There we go. Yeah. That's good, huh? Are we buddies now?
She had to think about it there, did you see that?
She stopped for a second.
- [Mark] What else do wombats eat besides carrots, Coyote?
- Well, out in the wild, wombats would be eating
grasses and bark and roots.
Pretty much a real high fiber kind of diet.
- [Mark] What would be a predator to a wombat?
What are they looking out for?
- Well, obviously if a wombat wandered down
near the edge of the water,
it could be eaten by something like a crocodile but,
primarily the dingo is the only
real threat to a wombat of this size.
Now, a smaller one I imagine,
would be taken by something like an eagle or a large hawk.
But, you're definitely not going to
be able to pick up a creature of this size
if you're a bird of prey.
I can't imagine the talons would
be able to even pierce through that thick fur and skin.
Whoop. Okay. Got down to the nub of the carrot there.
That's about as far as you go.
Don't want to lose the tips of
your fingers to a wombat.
Been bitten by many creatures,
and I don't think the wombat is one
that I wanna add to the list.
(happy music)
There you go. A little more fiber for that diet, huh?
(happy music)
- [Mark] Well she didn't like the jokes,
but she likes the treats.
- You know, whatever you gotta do
to make friends with a wombat.
This definitely worked.
I often times find that it is food
that gets the animal to liven up a little bit.
There you go. This is a little different
than the carrot, huh? You're gonna chomp away at that.
Now you're waking up, huh?
- [Mark] Hi Wanda.
- So, Wanda is a rescued wombat.
And sadly, her mother was hit by a car,
and they found her as a little joey
inside of her pouch. And she was saved.
And she was actually hand-raised
and is now here at the sanctuary
and is part of a wombat breeding program.
That's right, and you've got a boyfriend, don't ya?
I think she's done eating leaves.
She doesn't really like these grasses
as much as she did the carrot.
- [Mark] Looks like she's looking
for an escape route.
- Yeah. You're getting ready to jump off of there, huh?
- [Mark] Well that was pretty cool, man.
- Yeah. You notice the sun is
starting to get low in the sky.
And once it gets dark out,
Wanda is going to become very active.
As a nocturnal creature, she's gonna be
out and about searching for food.
But we did have a carrot,
and we had some grasses, and I think at this point
it's time to call it a day.
But that was pretty cool.
Hanging out with the one and only, wombat.
I'm Coyote Peterson. Be brave. Stay wild.
We'll see you on the next adventure.
(inspirational music)
If you thought Wanda was an adorable marsupial,
make sure to go back and watch
as I got nose to nose with her smaller cousin
Blossom, the brushtail possum.
And don't forget, subscribe so you can
join me and the crew on this season of Breaking Trail.
(wilderness sounds)
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DON'T WAKE the WOMBAT?!

1065 Folder Collection
Sam Cross published on August 28, 2018
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