Utilization of habitat by the northern hairy-nosed wombat Lasiorhinus krefftii


  • C. N. Johnson

    1. Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service, PO Box 1395, Rockhampton, Qld 4700, Australia
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    • *Department of Zoology, University of Tasmania, GPO Box 252C, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia


The small population of northern hairy-nosed wombats in Epping Forest National Park is the last one known. The wombats construct their burrows in deep sandy soil, and feed through an open woodland with a grassy understorey. Individual wombats used small home ranges, with 70% core areas averaging 5.8 ha, and total range areas averaging around 25 ha. Their nightly emergences from burrows were timed to avoid extreme above-ground temperatures. Total activity varied from 2 to 6 hours above ground per night, and was greatest during late winter and early spring, when pasture productivity had been very low for around nine months. There was no evidence of any tendency for body condition or growth to fluctuate in response to variations in seasonal conditions. The ability of this species to maintain condition during harsh seasons while adopting conservative ranging behaviour is evidence of adaptations for the minimization of energy expenditure and the utilization of poor-quality forage. Management of the Park should attempt to see that consistent reserves of forage are maintained close to burrows throughout the year.