The World's Oldest, And Possibly Largest, Wombat Turns 29

Patrick the wombat, who just turned 29. Ballarat Wildlife Park / Facebook

What is thought to be the world's oldest wombat turned 29 this week. The animal, which looks a bit like a large gopher or a giant hamster, lives in a wildlife park in southeastern Australia.

The wombat, known at Patrick (or sometimes "Fat Pat from Ballarat"—Ballarat being the name of his home wildlife park) is also quite large, weighing in at about 40 kilograms (88 pounds), the maximum known weight for the animal—though most don't get this big.

Pat the wombat is so big that Ballarat Wildlife Park curator Julia Leonard pushes the animal around in a wheelbarrow "to keep a check on what is going on," according to the organization's website.

"He is so gentle, a real gentleman of the wombat world," Leonard said of Patrick, to the Melbourne Herald Sun


Pat with curator Julia Leonard. Ballarat Wildlife Park

The animals generally grow 28 to 47 inches long. They are marsupials, meaning they give birth to underdeveloped young that crawl inside the female's pouches. Wombats in the wild are nocturnal and come out at night to feed on grass and roots, and often dig burrows. Apparently Pat digs a hole in the park every single night.

"Given that Patrick has never had children, or any partners in general, probably makes him the oldest living wombat virgin as well!" noted. "Congrats mate!"

He was also named the "3rd best city mascot" by CNN.

Here's a video in which Karl Stefanovic, the male anchor of an Australia's Today show barely veils his disgust for the creature, which, given Pat's charisma, is frankly hard to fathom. Although Karl does admit the big fella looks "peaced out," which seems an apt description.

Happy Birthday, Pat.

In semi-related news, here is a somewhat scary photo of a baby wombat that made the rounds last week.

This story has been corrected to reflect that the weight of Patrick the wombat is 40 kilograms, or 88 pounds.