Bum-biting wombat mating habits could hold key to survival

2018-05-10 14:28
Bum-biting is common mating behaviour among certain wombats, shedding light on the secret sex lives of the furry marsupials in a discovery that could protect the species as a whole from extinction. (Saeed Khan, AFP)

Bum-biting is common mating behaviour among certain wombats, shedding light on the secret sex lives of the furry marsupials in a discovery that could protect the species as a whole from extinction. (Saeed Khan, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Bum-biting is acommon mating behaviour among certain wombats, researchers revealed on Thursday, shedding light on the secret sex lives of the furry marsupials in a discovery that could protect the species as a whole from extinction.

Scientists monitoring the breeding patterns of the southern hairy-nosed wombat found females became more physically active when ready to mate and were more likely to bite males on the bottom when most fertile.

Researchers are tracking their behaviour in a bid to improve captive breeding of the critically endangered northern hairy-nosed wombat – one of the world's rarest species.

"With only about 200 northern hairy-nosed wombats remaining, being able to breed these animals may one day ensure the survival of the species," said University of Queensland professor Stephen Johnston.

"There has been no captive breeding of the northern hairy-nosed wombat, and even the southern species fails to breed regularly in captivity."

Australia's three wombat species face threats to their survival from predatory dogs, diseases and competition for food from kangaroos.

The aggressive nature of wombats – their love bites on the rump can rip out tufts of fur – makes collecting behavioural data challenging, researchers said, with the latest findings offering a "significant step forward".

Johnston said that the amorous behaviours discovered by researchers could serve as "cues for animal husbandry managers" to bolster chances for the success of wombat breeding programs at zoos and wildlife enclosures.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    australia  |  animals

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.