Wilsons Prom is known for its vistas and coastlines and breathtaking geography. Observe:
Plus, it’s known for the native wildlife: kangaroos, koalas, emus, snakes, wallabies, among many others whose names I don’t recognize, not to mention that if you come during the right season, you can spot humpback whales and killer whales.
Importantly, the reason for this post, even though I have already written about Wilsons Prom and would normally never dare revisit a topic for fear of boring and alienating you, dear reader, the reason for this post is that I have a new favorite animal: the wombat.
Wombats are nocturnal marsupials. Here is a wombat that has ventured out of its burrow at dusk. Look at it grazing with its eyes closed:
As I was explaining to a friend in an email:
They just boop out at dusk and nom on some grass, maybe they will check out if you have tasty trash on your campsite and rub against your leg by accident and then you give it bread and it hangs out eating the bread and then boops off into the darkness onto the next adventure. They are like giant stuffed animals, except better, because they are real.
And then I offered not one, but two YouTube videos. My friend responded with the following observations:
He has the personality and the curiosity of a puppy, so he will come up to you to say hello and see what snacks you might have for him. He has the body type and fluffiness of a bear cub, so you want to hug him immediately (and the feeling is mutual). He is slow-moving and likes to eat grass like a cow, so he hangs around in the park while you are having a picnic.
Yes, Allison, correct. Exactly. You get it.
The chances of spotting one while you’re camping at Wilsons Prom are 100%, and you don’t even have to try that hard. Wombats aren’t very bothered that you’re in or around their space, but if one does happen to be bothered, it’ll just wobble away into a bush, and you can probably go for a walk and find another one to try to cuddle.
I guess I should take this time to acknowledge that supposedly, wombats are dangerous. (Emphasis on supposedly is my own.) But apparently, if you meet one on a bad day, it can claw or bite … or “skittle a fully grown man as if a 120-litre barrel had bowled him over.”
(Confused at the use of the word “skittle” not in reference to chewy candy that comes in more flavors than necessary, I asked the Dictionary which offered:
skittle |’skitl| (noun): 1. (skittles) [treated as sing.] a game played, chiefly in Britain, with wooden pins, typically nine in number, set up at the end of an alley to be bowled down with a wooden bowl or disk. 2. a pin used in the game of skittles.
No mention of “skittle” as a verb, but I think I understand the point.)
But the wombats at Wilsons Prom have become pretty used to Homo sapiens up in their space and don’t seem too upset at their presence. They have the concentration of a college student taking an exam on Adderall, the munchies of a student who smoked just a little too much weed, and the pace of a student who hasn’t had a nap in weeks.
Essentially, we can all connect with wombats on a complex and nostalgic level, plus they look fat and cuddly as fuck, so what’s not to fall in love with?
(Sorry, kangaroos. I… it was nice feeding one of you at the zoo but like, I never really see you around as often as I’d like, you know? You should maybe work on being more approachable.)
(And sorry, koalas. I’ve only seen you once at a zoo, and I’ve never even touched one of you. … Actually, wait – koalas? I take that back a little. Just look at this guy.)
Nah, but still. Wombats have won me over. They have taken my heart and jiggled their butts off with it.