Sunday, July 18, 2010

Wombats - Nature's New and Improved Koala

Click play to see the Tonka the Wombat in Action!

       Ray the Koala                   Tonka the Wombat

Koala's are known to bring in many tourists to Queensland, giving over-exorbitant amounts of attention to the cuddliest looking of all marsupials.

But, they are among the least intelligent of their kind and native Australians roll their eyes as they explain that the Koala's brain is only the size of two peas. Their most exciting part of their day is looking at the branch in front of them, spending 23 hours a day sleeping in order to build enough energy to poo.

Our new favorite member of the marsupial clan (yes, it carries it's young in a cool pouch too) is the wombat. It is the smartest marsupial in all of Australia.

Why, you ask?
1. Wombats have a hard cartillage rear end. This comes in handy because the wombat is hunted by Dingoes and have managed to outsmart the wild dog by luring it nears it burrow. Once the Dingo is interested and sticks it head into the burrow up comes the hard cartillage butt to crush the Dingoes skull. If that is not enough, the wombat then drags the body atop his burrow mound to warn other predators lest they share the same fate.

2. The wombat is able to sense Bush fires long before other animals and during these dire emergencies, video has been taken of dingoes, snakes, padmeleons, and all other animals living in harmony in the wombats burrown while fire rages.   A notable exception to this is the Koala, who is just a tad bit too "slow" to come down from the gum trees and realize there is any danger at all.

3. The hairy nosed wombat is actually in the top ten most endangered species in the world and there are only about 50 left. Farmers might be to blame, poor little buggers. (not the farmers) Our friend Tonka, is the common brown wombat and not on the brink of extinction, but super cuddly!

We hope you think that wombats are just as rad as we do!  Silly cute Koalas.    :P

Which do you prefer?
a. the cuddly koala
b. the wily wombat

Post your preference below!
(don't be shy now...)


  1. Aww Elise- you shattered my image of Koalas! I have to agree wombats seem like they have it more together....but I'm voting for the Koala!!!
    cheers, Lollie

  2. I think the wombat is closer to evolving into someone who could have you over for a nice cup of coffee or tea and play chess so I'll have to go with wombat. Also, I'm guessing they'd have something more exciting than eucalyptus leaves to munch on with tea or coffee. Probably better conversation too, less likely to nod off in the middle of a get together. Wait I know someone's dad who's that way though I love him just the same...

  3. I am on team wombat. How cute are they? Although I am wondering what their personality is like. Why do the clams squirt? I am curious now.
    Great stuff!

  4. Hey Lollie I still love Koalas too. I have been learning quite a bit about them.

    Nice post Blue!

    Aren't wombats adorable Jen! I didn't want to give Tonka the wombat back.
    I have learned that Giant Clams like sharks, and whales suck in seawater and strain out bits of food. The clam pumps the water through a siphon and transports it to its mouth to filter out food using mucus to catch the food particles. A second siphon expels the filtered water. Tridacna gigas still gets most of the nutrients it needs from the symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae which are tiny algae that reside within the clam’s mantle and are responsible for all the beautiful colors. I know all about them I count them all day haha! It is a tradeoff between the clam and the algae. The clam protects the algae from predators in exchange for carbohydrates from the algae’s photosynthesis during the day.

  5. I have to say Koala because I keep thinking of the picture of Sam the Koala drinking from the fireman's water bottle during those really bad brush fires last year.

    Love all the info ladies, keep up the great updates!

  6. Yes Alex Sam the Koala is cute but the wombat is smarter. I am going to bring a koala and a wombat home to Staten Island. Is that OK?

  7. I'm with you Elise. The smarter the better. Cute only takes you so far..... I love all the pics and video. I'm so jealous. This was a great way to keep us updated.

  8. Hey Pam,
    I am so glad you like blog. Australia is amazing! I am working very hard in the lab to run my experiment but I look forward to reading your comments!

  9. LOL Elise! But then where will you live?! JK, you can bring anything you want home, just get here sooner! Miss you.

  10. Hi Elise,

    You make a pretty convincing case. I'm for team wombat. Please bring me back a koala. How much damage can it do to my apartment given it sleeps 23 hours a day?? Amy

  11. I am on it Amy! I will sneak one back for you but you have to have plenty of eucalyptus leaves for him to eat!!!