Question: With all the digging wombats do, why don’t their pouches fill with dirt?
Answer: Wombats, like many other marsupials, carry their babies around in pouches. The problem with wombats, however, is that they do a lot of digging.
You would think that all this dirt would collect in their pouches and that baby wombats would constantly have dirt in their eyes and whiskers. But this doesn’t happen, because wombats wear their pouches backwards.
A rear-facing pouch is not only better for keeping the inside dirt-free, it also protects the baby from being poked with sticks and roots. Wombats have short legs and therefore very little clearance. They are often fondly referred to as the bulldozers of the bush: a baby wombat in a rear-facing pouch is well protected from whatever its mum may "bulldoze" over.
Wombats are not the only marsupials with rear-facing pouches. Bandicoots, bilbies and Tasmanian Devils also do a lot of digging and they too protect their babies in pouches that open at the rear. Funnily enough, koalas also have rear-facing pouches. Luckily, female koalas have very tight muscles around their pouch openings.
Thank you for your feedback, you are right in saying that not all marsupials have pouches, we have made a correction to the article. Thank you for keeping us on our toes!
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I returned to UK on Fairsea June 1965 via the Panama canal.That trip brings back many happy memories as I have silent film of the complete trip.
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Would love to hear from anyone on the Fairsea from Nordenham or Bremerhaven which arrived in Port Melbourne on the 22nd Jan, 1951. Thanks