A review of wombat diet and nutrition

Fiona F. Casey, Hayley J. Stannard, Julie M. Old

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

In this review we investigated the diet and nutrition of wombats and highlight areas for future research. The low energy requirements of wombats, conservative foraging behaviours and burrowing lifestyle allow them to subsist on low-quality food. Furthermore, their digestive anatomy and physiology is well adapted for digesting the resources available in their habitats. All species feed predominantly on native grasses; however, the nutritional requirements of juvenile and aged wombats are largely unknown. Changes to food availability and grass species in wombat habitats may alter their diet and nutritional intake. Also, despite evidence suggesting that wombats can satisfy their water requirements via the food they eat, the minimum threshold of water content at which wombats will cease feeding is unknown. Other areas for future research include investigating factors that affect digesta retention times (such as age or lactation), and the development of a method to determine age, because unlike most other mammals, wombat teeth grow continuously, hence teeth cannot be used as a reliable predictor of age in wombats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Mammalogy
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Jul 2020

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