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  • - Wanna know something that's really

  • kind of interesting, and a little gross, I guess.

  • They have a bone in their backs here,

  • that when they actually poop it's kind of like one of those

  • Play-Doh fun factory machines. Their poop is square.

  • - [Mark] What?

  • - [Coyote] Square poop.

  • (cougar yell)

  • (jungle drums)

  • (lion roar)

  • (lively music)

  • - Australia is home to

  • a plethora of unique animal species.

  • And whether they are dangerous,

  • and potentially deadly, like the eastern brown snake,

  • or absolutely adorable, like the brushtail Possum,

  • we were excited to be getting the cameras up close.

  • In this episode, we are back at the Billabong Sanctuary.

  • Located in Nome, a small town just

  • south of Townsville in North Queensland,

  • this family owned and operated establishment

  • is home to over 50 native species.

  • Proudly listed as one of Queensland's

  • top eco-tourism attractions,

  • for nearly 35 years they have been

  • contributing to conservation effort

  • while also providing the public

  • with a hands-on education about wildlife.

  • Today, I will be getting to know

  • one of their permanent residents.

  • A unique marsupial known as Wanda the wombat.

  • All right, guys. Now, the next animal

  • we're going to meet is just over here off to the side.

  • And this is one of the most bizarre looking mammals

  • I think I've ever seen.

  • Have you guy ever heard of a wombat?

  • No? You haven't? Maybe you have?

  • Well get ready, because we're about to meet Wanda.

  • All right. Bring her in.

  • Oh, this is gonna be wild. Oh look at you. Oh my goodness.

  • - [Mark] Sure that's not an oversized Koala, Coyote?

  • - It kind of looks like a giant gerbil meets a guinea pig.

  • But, this is in fact marsupial.

  • Look, this is her rump right here.

  • Let me see if I can kind of

  • get her to turn in this direction. Can I turn her around?

  • - [Wombat Handler] You can push her-

  • - Push her up like this? Oh, she's heavy.

  • Oh, there you go. Let's put you right here.

  • What do you think? You wanna lie down right there?

  • There we go. Oh, look at that creature.

  • Like a big bump on a log.

  • All right, I'm gonna actually come behind her here.

  • I think that may be easier.

  • Look at that. That is a wombat.

  • Have you ever seen a wombat before?

  • - [Mark] Never.

  • This is my first time ever being

  • in contact with a wombat.

  • Look at that adorable face.

  • Hi, how are you doing?

  • Well, if she play bites,

  • they do have rodent-like teeth.

  • And they use those teeth to gnaw through

  • bark, grasses and roots.

  • And how do you get to those roots?

  • You use those incredible claws, right?

  • Can we take a look at your claws?

  • Because that is one of the most

  • impressive things about the wombat,

  • is their ability to dig.

  • I know. We're just starting to get to

  • know each other though, right?

  • Whoa, those claws are impressive.

  • Now, they have these big paws, right?

  • They spread out like this.

  • Almost like the claws of a badger.

  • And they dig, dig, dig, dig, dig

  • down deep into a burrow.

  • And that's where they

  • will get down to the good roots, right?

  • Are the roots better a little deeper down?

  • Now, this is a marsupial related to koalas.

  • And this is like the koala of the ground, right?

  • They don't actually climb up into trees,

  • but believe it or not, this stout little animal,

  • if it needs to, can move at

  • speeds of close to 25 mile an hour.

  • So, short little legs, plump body, and incredible speed.

  • You almost look like a groundhog.

  • Did you know that?

  • We have groundhogs in Ohio, and very similar coloration,

  • but you are not related to a groundhog, are you?

  • No. Not at all.

  • - [Mark] Wanda looks kind of sleepy.

  • - She definitely looks sleepy right now, doesn't she?

  • Now, they're primarily nocturnal so-

  • - [Mark] You're boring the wombat, Coyote.

  • - Is this not interesting enough for you?

  • You know you're on camera right now.

  • You're gonna be on YouTube.

  • You're gonna be a star.

  • I really want to see you as paws.

  • The paws are so impressive. There we go.

  • (jungle drums) Oh.

  • - Yeah, I saw that. I saw that. There we go.

  • Well at least it got you up and standing, huh?

  • Okay, now we can see the paws.

  • All right guys, zoom in on the paws there,

  • and look at those claws.

  • - [Mark] Oh, they're serious.

  • - Super impressive, right?

  • Now, look at the size of her body. Oh, I know.

  • Oh, I'm not going to make any sudden movements, I promise.

  • Now, if they're chased by a predator,

  • and they start to go into the ground,

  • come around the back side.

  • Let's take a look at the wombat's rump.

  • Come back here. You stay put.

  • All of the backside of the wombat

  • is a solid mass of cartilage.

  • And Mark, come up slowly here.

  • See if you can feel the backside of this creature.

  • Not only is the fur incredibly course,

  • but this is solid right there.

  • So, what they will do is just kind of

  • push their rump up out of the back of the hole.

  • And a predator can't actually get to them.

  • You wanna know something that's really kind of interesting,

  • and a little gross, I guess.

  • See I'm right here by the back end of the wombat.

  • They have a bone in their backs here,

  • that when they actually poop,

  • it's kind of like one of those

  • Play-Doh fun factory machines.

  • Their poop is square.

  • - [Mark] What?

  • - Square poop.

  • - [Mark] Why?

  • - Now, why? Good question.

  • Now, they only poop about every 14 days, right?

  • It takes that long for all the bark and roots

  • and grasses to process through their system.

  • And then when they drop out that square poop,

  • they actually use their poop to mark their territories.

  • So, scientists think that they're square

  • so that they don't roll away.

  • Or I'm guessing in many instances,

  • so that dung beetles don't come in

  • and roll them away.

  • There are many species of dung beetle here in Australia,

  • and those beetles will push the turds away.

  • However, if they're square, they will stay put,

  • and then the territory is marked.

  • Pretty cool, huh?

  • - [Mark] I guess. That's kind of weird.

  • I'm kind of on the business end of the wombat here.

  • So, let's come back around to the front.

  • It's amazing. She is so solid.

  • The mass of this creature's body is very impressive.

  • Here's one thing that's also really interesting.

  • Now, this is a female, right?

  • Because they're marsupials, they have pouches, right?

  • Because they are diggers, you wouldn't want to be

  • throwing all of that dirt into your pouch, right?

  • So kangaroos and koalas have pouches that face forward.

  • The female wombat has a pouch that faces backwards.

  • So, I don't think she's gonna let us

  • kind of hold her up and see that pouch.

  • But, the pouch does face backwards

  • so that when they're digging,

  • that dirt doesn't go inside and get on the joey.

  • Right? You don't want to get dirt

  • on your joey, do ya?

  • - [Mark] So Coyote, is this wombat fully grown?

  • - It is fully grown, right?

  • - [Wombat Handler] She will get

  • a little bit bigger that this.

  • - Little bit bigger.

  • - [Mark] Bigger? Oh wow.

  • - [Wombat Handler] She's actually a small wombat.

  • - [Mark] This is a small wombat. (laughter)

  • - Oh, this is a small wombat. So, what's the heaviest-

  • - [Wombat Handler] 25 kilograms.

  • They can get as big as 30, 40 kilograms.

  • - 30 to 40 kilograms wow, that's a big creature.

  • Oh, we got some food.

  • All right, well let's see if Wanda wants to eat.

  • Carrot. Yes. Let's try that.

  • Wanda. Let me try it first.

  • (adventurous music)

  • That's actually a really good carrot.

  • Wanda, carrot? Okay. (crunching)

  • - [Mark] Oh yeah.

  • - Now we're friends. All right.

  • Well, I've found a way to bond with the wombat.

  • It's called a carrot.

  • You know, carrot is one of my favorite snacks.

  • It's a healthy snack, Wanda. Just so you know.

  • I'm very proud of you. (crunch)

  • There you go. Yeah, now let me see if I can

  • kind of like hold it up like this.

  • Let me see if you can see those teeth.

  • (lively music) (crunch)

  • Oh, crushers right there.

  • And I see why she's able to chew through bark.

  • There we go. Yeah. That's good, huh? Are we buddies now?

  • She had to think about it there, did you see that?

  • She stopped for a second.

  • - [Mark] What else do wombats eat besides carrots, Coyote?

  • - Well, out in the wild, wombats would be eating

  • grasses and bark and roots.

  • Pretty much a real high fiber kind of diet.

  • - [Mark] What would be a predator to a wombat?

  • What are they looking out for?

  • - Well, obviously if a wombat wandered down

  • near the edge of the water,

  • it could be eaten by something like a crocodile but,

  • primarily the dingo is the only

  • real threat to a wombat of this size.

  • Now, a smaller one I imagine,

  • would be taken by something like an eagle or a large hawk.

  • But, you're definitely not going to

  • be able to pick up a creature of this size

  • if you're a bird of prey.

  • I can't imagine the talons would

  • be able to even pierce through that thick fur and skin.

  • Whoop. Okay. Got down to the nub of the carrot there.

  • That's about as far as you go.

  • Don't want to lose the tips of

  • your fingers to a wombat.

  • Been bitten by many creatures,

  • and I don't think the wombat is one

  • that I wanna add to the list.

  • (happy music)

  • There you go. A little more fiber for that diet, huh?

  • (happy music)

  • - [Mark] Well she didn't like the jokes,

  • but she likes the treats.

  • - You know, whatever you gotta do

  • to make friends with a wombat.

  • This definitely worked.

  • I often times find that it is food

  • that gets the animal to liven up a little bit.

  • There you go. This is a little different

  • than the carrot, huh? You're gonna chomp away at that.

  • Now you're waking up, huh?

  • - [Mark] Hi Wanda.

  • - So, Wanda is a rescued wombat.

  • And sadly, her mother was hit by a car,

  • and they found her as a little joey

  • inside of her pouch. And she was saved.

  • And she was actually