Winnie may be a common wombat but she certainly isn’t typical.
Today marks Winnie’s 31st birthday, making her the oldest wombat in Australia and probably the world.
“Common wombats generally live in captivity for between 25 and 26 years, so it’s actually quite rare and unusual to have a wombat live over the age of 30,” Renee Osterloh from the National Zoo and Aquarium said.
Winnie was orphaned as a joey and hand raised at Birdland Animal Park at Bateman’s Bay before moving to Canberra’s National Zoo in 1992.
“Wombats are a nocturnal species but Winnie loves to get out and explore,” Ms Osterloh said.
“Visitors often find her digging burrows in the enclosure and playing with a lot of enrichment items like tubs and barrels that keep her entertained and stimulated throughout the day.”
Winnie is also known for curling up into blankets in the middle part of the day.
“It’s quite difficult to then see her, but you see this movement under the blankets when you walk past and you know that she’s snuggling in deeper into that sleep,” Ms Osterloh said.
Facebook page follows Winnie’s life at the zoo
Winnie is a bit of a celebrity with her own Facebook page and more than 1,000 followers.
Her keepers share photos and post humorous insights into Winnie’s life at the zoo.
“It came about when Patrick the wombat from Ballarat Wildlife Park was looking for love and put the call out there for other wombats to see whether or not there was compatibility,” Ms Osterloh said.
“We set up a Facebook page for Winnie so the two of them could connect.
“It also provides an opportunity for visitors to see the life of a wombat through the wombat’s eyes.”
Winnie’s favourite foods are grated carrot, sweet corn and sweet potato, and perhaps her healthy diet and active lifestyle have contributed to her long years.
“She’s been heavily loved here at the zoo,” Ms Osterloh said.
“She’s definitely been able to live a very long and happy life here and hopefully many more years to come.”