||edHelper's suggested reading level:
||grades 4 to 6
||Flesch-Kincaid grade level:
||hairy-nosed, herbivorous, retreat, naked, combat, extremely, comical, entrances, stocky, lifetime, vegetation, wombat, nocturnal, species, incisor, eucalyptus
||Epping Forest National Park
1 Wombats look like small bears with flat noses! Wombats wander in the grasslands of Australia and its nearby island, Tasmania. But wombats differ from bears in many ways. It is true that both creatures have furry coats and stocky builds. But after a close-up look at wombats, you will find that wombats really share no traits with bears!
2 Wombats are nocturnal. That means they are active mainly at night. They are herbivorous, eating only vegetation. They are burrowing animals and live under the ground. Their sharp claws make wombats very good at excavating. The tunnels that they dig have very practical designs, too. If chased by predators such as dingoes and foxes, they run at a top speed of 25 miles per hour. They retreat to safety by entering through one of the many entrances to their homes.
3 Wombats' tunnels can be more than 70 feet long. They are custom made to allow only animals of the same size as the builders themselves to pass through. If a stalker follows a wombat into its burrows, it may soon regret the decision! Wombats have plates of cartilage in their rumps. They use their hefty rear ends as their first line of defense! They block the entrance to their burrows with their rumps. If the stalker's head gets caught between wombats' rear ends and the burrow wall, its skull can get crushed or it can suffocate. That's a very embarrassing, yet perhaps comical, way to die, don't you think?
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