Are wombats vicious?

Are wombats vicious or dangerous? This is one question I am asked the most! Like any of us, wombats will protect themselves, their young and their territory. A wombat’s first response is to run for the safety of their burrow! Once they are at the entrance of their burrow they will use their large body to block the entrance to avoid predators following them in. Alternatively, the wombat will poke out their butt (under all that fur, their butt has a cartilage plate) and then they will try to crush the predator’s head between their cartilage covered butt and the roof of the burrow. Sorry I don’t have an image of that!

Image of Elsie courtesy of Evan Croker photographer

But wombats also use a series of vocalizations to scare us away. Remember wombats are primarily nocturnal (although you might see them out and about on overcast days). So, if you heard the noise in the video below when you were in the bush, in the dark, would you hang around to find out what animal was making this noise or would you run! I suggest you run!

Turn the sound up!

So what about wombats in care? Those cute little bundles of love with thousands of Instagram followers? How do we ever release ”tame’ wombats that have been in care for so long? Surely they never become aggressive?

The animals in my care are never ’tame’ – they are loved but never tamed. The animals go through a series of stages of development – just like children. Once wombats are ’semi adults’ they move to outdoor enclosures and we slowly withdraw the hands on love (but not the care) as they naturally begin to develop the instincts they need to survive in the wild. Elsie is ready for release! Wow is she ready! So is Barney but he’s a month younger and for some reason hasn’t yet become as aggressive and as vocal as Elsie. I now wonder how much longer it will be before Elsie (or Barney) actually turn on me! The question is would she turn on me? I don’t really want to find out!

Elsie just grumbling at me! Would she turn on me?

The images below have appeared elsewhere in my blog – the result of ‘play’ between myself and another semi adult wombat who was previously in my care. She adored me but also used me as a means to practice defending herself as she would in the wild.

I now only observe Elsie and Barney ! I ensure that their enclosure is clean and safe, that they have an abundance of food and water but other than that – it’s strictly hands off! Neither Elsie or Barney come when they are called by their name – I am now just someone they used to know!!! So sad for me – but their behaviors now tell me they are ready for the wild – they can survive without me! From initial feeds every two hours to now – where I sneak in their enclosure in the day to tidy up and replace their water, then I RUN if I hear them get up! So many hours and hours of love and care have paid off.

Time for release.. they are ready!


I’ll be blogging more soon. Feel free to share a link to my blog but all images and videos are copyrighted. Thanks. 🐾🐾

Published by helenjhardy

Wildlife carer, animal rights supporter, teacher, presenter.

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