Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance logo
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Library logo

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 Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.

Page Citations

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

SDZWA Library Links