The animals invaded Ted Finnie’s beef farm and began tunneling underground to a hidden water source. According to ABC Australia, the farm sits 19 miles (30 kilometers) down the Hunter Valley which has only seen a pinch of rain over the past three years.
The wombats’ relentless tunneling had created a crater 20 meters (65.6 feet) in diameter and four meters (13 feet) deep.
“As the crater has dried out due to the drought the wombats have burrowed to get closer to the water and so they’ve gone underground a little bit,” said Finnie to local reporters, who also reported regularly seeing wallabies, wallaroos, and kangaroos.
Amazingly, there has never been a recorded instance of wombats digging for water, says biologist Julie Old, who began studying the site. Wombats dig their burrows in the side of creeks or small ditches under trees, where the roots will add to the stability of the burrow.
Old told ABC Australia, “We often call wombats ecological engineers because they’re digging burrows and they make habitat for other animals,”