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Wombats (Vombatus and Lasiorhinus spp.) Fact Sheet: Diet & Feeding

General

  • Grazing herbivores (Barboza 1993; Jackson 2003)
    • Variety of grasses, sedges, forbs, roots, and bulbs, based on availability
    • Diet high in fiber, low in nitrogen
    • Quantity/quality of food affected by seasonal variations, small home ranges
    • Video - northern hairy-nosed wombat grazing (DEHP 2012)
  • Feeding range (Horsup 2004; Hume 1999)
    • Common wombat - in forests/pastures through about 14 ha home range
      • Forage further from burrows than other species,
    • Northern hairy-nosed wombat - about 6 ha core feeding range
    • Southern hairy-nosed wombat - forage close to warren, within about 4 ha home range
      • Produce circular "lawn" or grazing halo around warren
  • Water - majority obtained from food (Wells & Green 1998)

Diet in the Wild

  • Common wombat (Hume 1999; Jackson 2003)
    • Primarily: perennial grasses
      • Poa species (tussock grass) - woodlands
      • Stipa species (spear grass) - woodlands
      • Themeda australis (kangaroo grass) - open areas
      • Danthonia penicillata (wallaby grass) - open areas
    • Also: cultivated oat crops
    • In periods of shortage:
      • Carex species (sedges)
      • Lomandra species (rushes)
  • Northern hairy-nosed wombat (Horsup 2004; Hume 1999)
    • Primarily: perennial grasses
      • Aristida species (three-awned grasses)
      • Enneapogon lindleyanus species (bottlewasher grasses)
      • Cenchrus ciliaris(buffel grass)
        • Introduced, becoming a dominant grass in species range
    • Also: Fimbristylis dichotoma (sedge)
  • Southern hairy-nosed wombat (Hume 1999)
    • Primarily: perennial grasses
      • Especially Stipa nida (spear grass)
    • During severe drought: broader diet
      • More forbs/dicots in grasslands, woody shrubs in shrublands/woodlands

Wombat with Hay Grasses

Wombat eating hay

Wombats are the only large, burrowing, herbivorous mammal.

Other burrowing mammals eat insects.

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Global. All rights reserved.

Page Citations

Horsup & Johnson (2008)
Hume (1999)
Jackson (2003)
Triggs (1996)
Wells & Green (1998)

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