"The Wombats in particular"
Wombat, Maria Island National Park
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeWombat, Maria Island National Park - Credit: JJ Harrison

Wombats are Australian marsupials. The have four short legs, grow to approximately 1 metre long, weigh between 20 and 35kg, and have a short, stubby tail. They are found in forested, mountainous, and heathland areas of south-eastern Australia.  They’re mainly nocturnal.  Female wombats give birth to a single young in the spring. They have a backwards pouch for their young, which is important, because they spend a lot of time digging burrows. 

Rossetti's Wombat seated in his Master's Lap 1871
Public DomainRossetti's Wombat seated in his Master's Lap 1871 - Credit: William Bell Scott
English painter and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882), founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848, was fascinated with wombats. He frequently arranged for meetings to take place at the "Wombat's Lair" at the London Zoo, and inspired the 1974 book, ‘The Year of the Wombat: England, 1857.’  He acquired his own pet wombat in 1869.