Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist. Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Monday, 16 March 2020

Wombling with Wombats - Tasmania, Australia

Hi everyone, this week for a change of pace, and to get away from news of "the virus", I decided to go back to Tasmania - that little island off the eastern south coast of Australia - and go wombling with wombats.

I wrote about Great Short Walks and searching for platypus in Tasmania on my blog way back in 2012. You can see it here - Searching for Platypus - Great Short Walks in Tasmania

Tasmania is an island of stunning scenery and a long, not always happy, history. 

Here are a few scenes from Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair National Park where we stayed in a cabin for a few days. We were thrilled during our visit to see and walk in snow - as we don't have snow in our part of Western Australia.  There are lots of great walks in the park, and a shuttle bus to drive you around, and we didn't mind the snow a bit!  
The walks are varied in terrain and distances, you can walk right around the lake, and there are these cute tunnels kid size with pictures for littlies to learn about birds and animals in the park.   That green mossy walk you can see second row below, looked like something from "The Hobbit".

Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake

Australia has some amazing unique animals - including the platypus and wombats - both of which we saw in Tasmania in 2012.

We had only seen wombats before in zoos - bored and sleepy - like in the photo below, and never in the wild until we went to Tasmania.

My apology in advance of the quality of these wildlife photos.....

 My son will tell you that it was the "wombat's fault" that I broke my arm at Cradle Mountain. 

We went on a late afternoon "wombat womble" guided walking tour along a board walk with a park ranger guide. The wooden board-walk was narrow and raised above the tough tussocky grassland and we were walking one behind each other because of the narrowness of the boardwalk - and it didn't have railings.  

A wombat was up ahead of us and the guide stopped to tell us about wombats. She then turned and said "where is our wombat", and I stepped sideways to get a better view - silly me forgot I was on a boardwalk - and I stepped off the boardwalk. I fell of course and my hand went out and I broke my wrist. Thankfully I managed to keep a good grip on my camera. 

I convinced myself it wasn't serious though it was very sore! and continued with the walk. Unfortunately I didn't take any photos of that wombat womble - or should I call it the wombat wobble?  I strapped up my wrist when we got back to the cabin and it wasn't till a few days later when we returned home that I had my wrist X-rayed and found that I had a small crack in one of the bones. My son will never let me forget that story!


I have just finished reading Jackie French's fascinating book "The Secret World of Wombats", illustrated by Bruce Whatley.

Jackie French is a much loved Australian author of childrens, teens, adult and non-fiction books. 

According to her web page  Jackie's writing career spans 25 years, she has studied over 400 wombats, written over 200 books, published in 36 languages, and has over 60 awards in Australia and overseas.

 So I guess after having met her first wombat over 30 years ago and since then studied over 400 wombats both in the wild and in her garden, she is well qualified to impart some of that knowledge through this book. Mixed with delightful short tales of wombats she has had living in her garden, it is a very enjoyable book.

Here are are few fast facts: 

* Diprotodon optatum (a megafauna - two metres tall and living thousands of years ago) is a close relative of modern wombats.  

* Wombat fur is coarse and stiff and was used by indigenous Australians to make string.

* Southern hairy-nosed wombats live only in a few places around the Nullarbor Plain and in South Australia. The northern hairy-nosed wombats are nearly extinct, surviving only in one colony in mid-north Queensland.

* Bare-nosed wombats - the common wombat - can be found in forested land in south-east New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.  

Wombats can weigh up to and over 40 kilograms, are about a metre long but stand only about 30 centimetres tall. Their coloring can be grey, black, brown, or golden, depending on where they live and their age. 
Wombats in Tasmania - sorry for the not great photos!
* Wombats live in a burrow and sleep during the day.  Wombat holes usually have several bedrooms - chambers with soft, dry dust or a bed of dried grass or bracken. These rooms are usually big enough for the wombat to sit up in. They usually go to sleep on their side, and when they roll onto their back they are very sound asleep.  Wombats take over abandoned burrows and renovate them.  These burrows could be over a hundred years old.

* Female wombats have a pouch for their baby, with the entrance facing backwards so sand doesn't go in when they dig. They have a baby about every 3 years. A baby wombat is twenty days old when it first crawls as a hairless pink creature into the pouch and will normally stay in the pouch for 7-10 months. They stop drinking milk around 12-15 months. The mother may discourage them by laying flat on the ground. At about 18 months they take off on their own and by 2 years they are independent.

* Wombats leave hundreds of droppings in a night to mark out their territory.  During a drought when there isn't much grass, or the grass is tough and brown, wombat droppings will be dark brown or black and will be square.

* Wombats dust bathe in dry dirt or sand to clean their fur and help get rid of ticks and mites.  Wombats love freshly dug dirt. Wombats are built for borrowing with tiny eyes (to keep out the dirt), small ears, broad dry leathery noses with big nostrils (great for smelling), a short neck, a strong stocky body and powerful shoulders and legs. They have two giant lower teeth and two big upper teeth, five front claws and four back claws on each foot. The front feet dig and the back shovel out the dirt behind them.

 * Wombats see and learn about the world by the way it smells.  They also hear very well, but it takes them a while to work out what they are hearing.  Evidently this accounts for why they are often killed by cars on the road, because it takes them a while to work out a car is coming. Sadly we saw many dead wombats by the road during our trip through South Australia last year. I imagine hitting a wombat would do a lot of damage to your car.

* Wombats love lush green grass, but can also chew tough sedges and tussocks, bark and dig up roots. Hand reared wombats also like carrots, sweet potato, corn on the cob, rolled oats and 'wombat nuts' - a bit like a grain and lucerne biscuit. 

* Wombats love to scratch and will rub up against posts, trees and rocks.  

Wombat scratching on a post in Tasmania

* Wombats live in the burrow by themselves but they don't have territories and will feed together as long as they stay two metres from each other. (they have obviously heard about the social self isolation policy LOL)

* Wombats do make a few sounds but mostly don't use sounds to communicate, though they do growl or snarl and can be vicious fighters. They know each other by their smell and the smell of their droppings.

These are just a few wombat facts. You can learn more about wombats, living with wildlife and Jackie French's books over on her web page -  Jackie French
A few of Jackie's illustrated children's books about wombats, beautifully illustrated by Bruce Whatley, include:  Diary of a Wombat, The Hairy Nosed Wombats, How to Scratch a Wombat, Baby Wombat's Week, and Christmas Wombat.
Jackie has also written many other books including historical fiction, sustainability and ecology and gardening books.  I might have to order this "A Year in the Valley" from my local library. 

 You can learn more about wombats here - Australian Museum

Recently I heard a very interesting interview on the radio with Jackie French, and late last year I read her adult novel "Clancy of the Overflow" - inspired by Banjo Patterson's poem by the same name. There was a wombat in that book too! I'll be on the lookout for more of Jackie's books. 

 Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this post today and it has taken you for a little while away from the news of the Corona Virus that is currently plaguing our earth. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 
Also by Jackie French

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  1. Hello, I did enjoy your post on the Wombats. What an interesting critter.
    Thanks for sharing the Wombat information and your trip! Stay safe and healthy, calm and happy. Enjoy your day, have a great new week!

  2. I loved your write up about snowy Tasmania and the wombats.
    I haven't read the books aimed at adults by Jackie French but I have enjoyed collecting her wombat books for children which I read to my boys when they were little. Such lovely books.

  3. I was able to pet and see a wombat at Trowanna Animal Preserve in Tasmania. I loved, loved, loved Tasmania and would love to go back someday - and Trowanna was one of my favorite places there. We met wombats, kangaroos and Tasmanian devils, too - very interesting. And I learned so much about them. I'll have to look for some of the books in my area of the world.

  4. Jill - yes, yes, yes. Thank you for the few moments of escape from the virus. The picture of your husband (I assume) standing in the snow on the boardwalk made me laugh out loud. We take snow for granted here!!! My other favorite is the picture of Jackie French reading a book to a wombat - it puts the size of the wombat into perspective! Thanks for taking the time to link to Mosaic Monday - I think we all will be needing a few distractions over the coming weeks!

  5. Thanks for the photos and the story of your accident! I have had a broken wrist and arm and I know the pain and frustration of it, so hope you are coping ok. My last fracture my specialist put my arm in a removable and washable cast which was made to fit my arm shape. Apparently State of the Art for fractures, and expensive but worth it I felt.

  6. I learned a lot about wombats today, thank you! Every so often the wombat's characteristics and habits reminded me of our Molly the Cat. :-)

  7. I didn't know anything about Wombats before today. Thanks Jill! This was such an interesting post :) x

  8. So much great information, thank you but ouch! That tumble had to of hurt something awful.
    Dawn aka Spatulas On Parade

  9. Enjoyed how you tell the story of what wombats love to do and are known for! Have never seen one, so this is very interesting to me! Am glad you don't let snow spoil your fun. We just had a pack of 6 inch falling Sunday and all Monday - of course it was accompanied by the seemingly unavoidable outage of electricity, It came on again today when we came back home from shopping. This was a delightful post for All Seasons, Jill - many thanks, and have a great week! Jesh

  10. You got snow! Lovely for you. And those wombats are adorable.

  11. The wombat is larger than I expected!

  12. I'm happy to learn about these cute critters, thanks for all the info :)

    Thanks for your contribution to 'My Corner of the World' this week!

    My Corner of the World


I hope you have enjoyed your visit to my blog. Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. I read and very much appreciate every comment and love hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return.