Some YouTubers spend their lives trying to find a formula for fame. All Pete the wombat had to do was scoff an ear of corn and unleash a whopper on camera, and the internet fell in love (the blow-out is five seconds in).

And in case you missed it, we’re pretty sure that impressive lap-warmer was followed by a cheeky wink…

Wink Wombat 2016 05 09
Better out than in, right, Pete?

The lap being warmed belongs to Chris 'Brolga' Barns, Pete’s keeper and star of the BBC documentary series Kangaroo Dundee. A tour guide and ex-zookeeper, Barns now runs The Kangaroo Sanctuary in Central Australia, where he cares for injured and orphaned wildlife.

Although Barns usually deals with marsupials that hop, he just couldn't turn away a charmer like Pete. The southern hairy-nosed wombat was an orphan when he was brought to the sanctuary, but thanks to lots of love and care – and a specially constructed "wombat wonderland" (complete with tunnels, a den and heaps of dirt for digging) – Pete has matured into the rotund, methane factory you see before you today.

Wombats are nocturnal and typically emerge from their burrows only at night to feed on a nutrient-poor diet of grasses, so we can understand all the enthusiasm for an ear of sweetcorn.

If Pete strikes you as just a little lethargic, that's because wombats are masters of chill. These desert-adapted marsupials typically restrict themselves to a small four-hectare home range, and they can slow their metabolic rate to two thirds of its usual level in order to conserve energy in the harsh Australian Outback.

They're also masterful burrow builders. Using their long claws, wombats can construct complex networks of tunnels stretching for up to 30 metres, where they hide out during the heat of the day (and chill hard).

As for Pete, he seems to be living the life, and we can’t really blame the internet for falling in love with a chubby, farting wombat. 


Header image: Dieter Bethke