Wombats have butts that can probably kill predators. Wow. (Image Credit: Flickr/Louis Jones)
On this #FurballFriday, we are delving into the marvelous marsupial world of the wombat. Wombats are those lovable Aussie creatures that look like a cross between a guinea pig and that blue critter in Lilo and Stitch.
They also have killer butts.
I know what you’re thinking. Same, right? Me, too. Killer butt.
But wombat butts may actually be deadly, not just the recipient of “Dat ass, tho” comments. Wombat expert Alyce Swinbourne, a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland, says “Their dermal shield is essentially four fused back bones or plates covered in cartilage, fat, thick skin, and fur.”
That’s like a steel-belted butt. A rump that can roast. A horned heinie. A tactical tushie. A…
I’ll stop now.
The reason for the super-strong butt structure is that it protects the burrowing creatures from invaders diving into their hole. Wombats are about 80 pounds so when they dig a hole, and it has be to large enough to accommodate them. Sadly, this also means the hole is large enough to accommodate predators. The wombat has evolved to be able to dive in head first, block the hole with its body and leave its buns of steel facing out as a shield. The butt can take a real spanking (I know, I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist) from an attacker while not doing lasting harm to the wombat.
But the butt can also be used as a weapon. Researchers have found the bodies of wannabe wombat killers near the entrances to burrows, giving rise to speculation that a wombat can slam its butt against the walls or roof of the burrow, catching and crushing the skulls of the attacker.
So don’t be fooled by appearances. Wombats may look like adorable little snuffly stuffed animals for cuddling, but their back end is ALL BUSINESS.
Rock on wombats, with your killer butts, rock on.