March is going to a good month! I have two separate weeks off work, the first week is happening on the south coast of New South Wales where I have just finished a two and a half day course on animal trapping, handling and release. Wonderful experience working with venomous snakes (browns and tiger snakes), wallabies, echidnas, possums, bats, birds and lizards.
But first, meet the Common Wombat (Vombatus ursinus). A distant cousin of the Koala, this hefty grass eater weighs in between 20 and 35 kg (45-80 lb) and is a prodigious burrower. I saw this one at Bendeela Campground near Kangaroo Valley just north of Nowra where they must be used to the large number of campers nearby. At dusk, they appear along with loads of small Eastern Gray Kangaroos, happily grazing the short grass. They may look fluffy but I picked up a smaller wombat (20 kg) during the animal handling course and they are a solid weight! And mine was used to being handled. A wild wombat like the one photographed which looks more like 30 kg would be some work!
The nearby river bank was riddled with networks of wombat burrows. Their main defence is to retreat to these burrows and leave their rear end protected by a toughened pad facing out to any predator. Their burrows also provide some protection for them and other species during bushfires.
Speaking of Koalas earlier, the more mathematically gifted may have realized that my life list tally at the end of the last post for February was one short of the total on the home page. This is because while I have seen koalas in the wild, I was holding back on an article until I get a photo. There is a lady near where I live who has koalas visit her block regularly, and when the stars align I’ll get some photos and write a post. Until then …
Mammal watching total = 28