World Wombat Day

Today is World Wombat Day and a little way back I shared some popular Australian children’s books based on these special marsupials. Go here : https://brizzymaysbooksandbruschettasite.wordpress.com/2020/05/12/wombats/

Firstly, five fascinating Wombat facts : 

  1. Wombats are stocky and close to the ground. That does not stop them from running at speeds up to 40 kilometres per hour which is just under retired sprinter Usain Bolt’s fastest recorded speed.
  2. A group of wombats is called a ‘wisdom of wombats’ a ‘mob of wombats’ or a ‘colony of wombats’. 
  3. The name wombat comes from the Darug language, spoken by the Traditional Owners of Sydney.
  4. The southern hairy-nosed wombat is the state fauna emblem of South Australia. And my favourite :
  5. Wombat poop is different to any other animal’s, because wombats are famous for doing cube shaped poop– pumping out around 100 of these a day. It’s all to do with their slow digestive system.

In recent months I’ve shared my developing interest in Aboriginal Astronomy and related artwork. Our indigenous could tell the weather for food finding purposes by watching the night skies. For example, moon haloes, or rings around the moon, are used by Aboriginal people as a weather predictor since ice crystals indicate high moisture levels in the atmosphere.

Many of the Dreamtime legends are depicted in the stars.

Here’s Ngarga warendj, the dancing wombat by artist, Mick Harding.

Warriin the Wombat is a solitary fella. He is a vegetarian who spends most of the day in his burrow and feeds at night. In our Taungwarrung creation stories, Warriin and Marram the Kangaroo were good mates. One day they had a fight because Warriin would not let Marram into his burrow. Marram cut off Warriin’s tail with his axe. Warriin was so mad he threw a spear at Marram and this became stuck in his back end and is now his tail”.

                 – Mick Harding  of the Yowong-Illam-Baluk clan.

Wombats


Wombats are short legged, muscular marsupials that look like little bears. Marsupials native to Australia they live in burrows. They spend daylight hours underground in their burrows and emerge in the night to forage for grasses, herbs, seeds, roots and bark. They have a very slow metabolism and it takes about 14 days to complete digestion. This aids wombats’ survival in arid landscapes. Interestingly – well, to me – wombat droppings are square in shape. How that works is beyond me but fascinating……( Keep that one in mind for your next trivia night!)

Wombats have been well represented over the years in Australian Children’s Literature, with the most popular including:

The Muddleheaded Wombat   –  Ruth Park

Wombat Stew  –  Marcia K Vaughan

One Woolly Wombat   –  Kerrie Argent

Diary Of A Wombat  –  Jackie French

Sebastian Lives In A Hat  – Thelma Catterwell

Wombat Goes Walkabout  – Michael Morpurgo

Did you know that we even have an annual Wombat Day ? The official day in set in Australia for October 22, but since the first celebration of the day in 2005, the rest of the world has seen fit to jump on board. As such, October 23 is World Wombat Day.  Add that to your diary now!

In Australia to be called a wombat is almost a term of endearment. A wombat often refers to an overweight, lazy, or slow idiot. He’s probably your best friend and eating Doritos on the couch right now. Or more bluntly, a Waste Of Money, Brains And Time.

Why are we even talking about Wombats today? Because I’m adding a Wombat experience to my Bucket List.

The Wombat Awareness Organisation in South Australia is the only free range, cage free wombat sanctuary in the World. It is also the only place where you can see two out of the three species of wombats living harmoniously together.

I’ve just scrubbed Disney’s Magic Kingdom off the list. I want to sit on a sofa with a wombat instead. See http://www.wombatawareness.com.