The arid and semi-arid regions of Australia are home to one of the world's largest burrowing mammals - the wombat.

Wombats spend three quarters of the lifetime underground in purpose-built burrows where the temperature remains cool and constant despite large fluctuations in temperature above the ground. There are three species of wombat:

  • the Common wombat (Vombatus ursinus)
  • the Southern hairy-nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons)
  • the Northern hairy-nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus krefftii).

Wombats are the closest genetic relative of the koala and they share some similar traits. They both have rearward opening pouches and a large bony plate across their rump. 

Common wombats are solitary and do not readily share burrows in the wild, but the two hairy-nosed species regularly share burrows. The northern hairy-nosed wombat is critically endangered and is among the top ten most endangered mammals on Earth. 

Rockhampton Zoo is home to five Southern hairy-nosed wombats who have all regularly taken part in strictly non-invasive research programs focused on improving captive husbandry management. When you visit Rockhampton Zoo, you will see the purpose-built Wombat Research Centre at the back of the wombat enclosure. Unfortunately, this is not open to the public to visit at this stage. 

Distribution and habitat   Across Australia
Conservation status* 

Northern hairy-nosed wombat - Critically Endangered
Southern hairy-nosed wombat - Near threatened
Common wombat - Least concern

Diet   Grass

* Classified by IUCN