Saturday, December 4, 2010

Keep Your Eyes Open

I had some technical difficulties, so I am running late this week.

This week's photohunter theme is hard to find.
I know some South Australians who have lived in SA and never seen a Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat in the wild. I spotted this hard to find animal as we cruised down the highway at 100 km an hour. Mark didn't believe that I had seen one, but I convinced him to turn the car around. Sure enough there amongst several rabbits was a normally nocturnal animal having brekkie.
The Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat is one of three species of wombats. The South Australian State Animal is found in scattered areas of semi-arid scrub and mallee from the eastern Nullarbor Plain to the New South Wales border area.  The large, pudgy, burrowing mammals have sharp claws that they use to dig burrows in open grasslands and eucalyptus forests. They are marsupials and they give birth to tiny, undeveloped young that crawl into pouches on their mothers' bellies, where they will remain for about five months.  The pouch is different from other marsupials since they face backward so no dirt gets in when it is tunneling.Wombats do not have many natural predators and man is their greatest enemy. Destruction of their natural habitat as well as hunting, trapping, and poisoning has severely reduced the wombat's population in many areas, and has completely eradicated it in others. In most parts of Australia the wombat is now protected, with the exception of parts of eastern Victoria where it is classified as vermin and often shot.

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