Why you should give a square shit about wombats

Here’s a free fact:  Wombats are the original dice-makers.

Ice ages before Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson introduced Dungeons & Dragons and its fancy nerdlinger 12- and 20- and 100-sided dice to the socially inept world…

…wombats were churning out good ol’ 6-sided dice for Aboriginal gamblers like it was going out of style. And I do mean churn.

See, wombats have cubic poop.

Take a peek for yourself.

How do they do it? These cute-as-a-really-cute-button (I’ve never found regular buttons particularly cute), furry, intelligent marsupials—and the closest living relative to the koala—have special bones in their backsides for squeezing and shaping and slicing their feces.*

But know this:  having square scat is not a useless talent.

Wombats poop on top of rocks and logs near their burrows; not so much to keep intruders away, but to remind wombats how to get home. It seems they have terrible eyesight but an excellent sense of smell. So natural selection gave their rubik’s poop a smell distinctive to each individual wombat. However, for the poop to remain in place atop its rock or log—and thus help them find their way home after a heavy night of grass-eating (and smoking, no doubt)—the shit comes out cubic.

Because there’s nothing more frustrating than having your poop roll away when you want it to stay.

*(for a more unappealingly diligent biological explanation, check this quasi-fetishistic video out.)

ONE MORE THING you should know about wombats:  despite being mostly peace-loving, herbivorous, crepuscular (means “appearing or active after twilight,” and “phenomenal word”) creatures that spend their lives digging holes so they can hide in them, wombats are responsible for more human deaths than almost any other animal in Australia—and Australia has a LOT of deadly animals.

(deadly, perhaps; but who could stay mad at you?)

Why? Because they’re kegs on legs. Their rear hides are crazy tough and strong, which helps them burrow and acts as a nifty shield (and occasional weapon) against predators. They weigh between 70-90 lbs and have an insanely low center of gravity. And they’re one of the strongest burrowing animals in the world. All those qualities make them hard to smush.

At night when they come out to feed, squatty wombats will act as a launching ramp for passing motorists unlucky enough to run into them, sending their cars skywards and off the road. Amazingly enough, wombats have been known to survive these accidents.

So next time you’re driving in Australia and catch a glimpse of cubic crap, look out.

Here endeth the lesson.

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~ by zactopia on August 16, 2010.

25 Responses to “Why you should give a square shit about wombats”

  1. I cannot tell you how happy this post makes me. I’m a connoisseur of poop and I’ve never heard of this, even though I had a copy of “How To Attract The Wombat” when I was younger. I have a neat, small, squarish song in my heart, thanks to you. An entire segment of my oeuvre is Poop Posts, and I would love to write about this too, if I can ever figure out a way to say it differently. Till that distant day, huzzah to you!

  2. [...] Why wombats poo in squares. [...]

  3. This was a fun read, thank you for your time and the info

  4. nice post, very well written. however, i feel sorry for the wombats that get killed in car accidents, as it is not their fault and they where here long before human beings came into the picture.

    • Hugo, Seriously? did you really say that? Lincoln was here long before I was but I didn’t shoot him. Your comment is outdated and holds no credence. I can’t belive you actually wrote that. What about deer do you feel sorry for them too? Squirrells? Ants? Wood Ticks? Do you drive? Do you say that about pedestrians? “I feel sorry for that person who got hit by that car, cars shouldn’t exist so people can live.”

      I’m not saying that you shouln’t have feelings or that you can’t be sorry or feel bad, its just that animals, all sorts of them, get hit by vehicles everyday but we as humans need to get around. The world changes in all sorts of ways continuously, and living creatures get killed all the time.
      Hmmm, was that a rant? Sorry, I shouldn’t pick. Really, I’m sorry.

      Oh, by the way, Wombats don’t get killed in car accidents, they get hit by cars. (It gives me a mental image of a wombat behind the wheel of a Land Rover with one forearm covering his eyes, mouth agape, just before impact.)

  5. Rather old post at this point but after reading about the newly found white wombat I started researching them and this is fantastic! I like the way you write….

  6. I loved this article. Fun read!!

  7. You crack me up! But now, in addition to being afraid of deadly snakes and spiders and sharks, I’m going to be terrified of driving over a damn wombat when I move to AU next month!!!!

  8. I love your post, and I’m borrowing your poop photo (with credit) for my own blogpost, which is nowhere near as funny as yours. Well done!

  9. cool

  10. [...] [...]

  11. LET KILL SOME GOD DAM WOMBAT!!! YEEHAW!!!!1

  12. Very, very funny. I LOVE IT!

  13. Great post! Always something to learn about our marsupial mates.

  14. Just when you think you know shit….

  15. MORTAL WOMBAT

  16. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=611317682215531

  17. [...] 袋熊是無尾熊的近親,在他們的尾部有特別的骨頭架構,讓他們在上大號時能夠擠出特別形狀的糞便。通常他們會在自己巢穴附近排解,由於他們的視力不好,但有很好的嗅覺,自己的糞便就成了回家的依據,因此演化出了不會滾動的方塊糞便這樣的特殊能力。出處 [...]

  18. Wombats are worlds gratest pooper

  19. My broham brought up the square faeces, and I found this article interesting. Even though that long comment was kind of mean, I did like the image of the wombat in the land rover. L.O.L. Also, I think it would be hillarious if you even tried to make a book on this. If it is published, I’ll be at that bookstore before you can say “Meep, Meep!” (Roadrunner, Looney Toons.) I don’t really have much more to say, but I tried to make this comment long to express my appreciation. Until next time, Haon12, over and out.
    (P.S. Do you have any other articles?)

  20. I used to live in the Dandenongs and I became aware of this phenomenon – Yes I have seen cube shaped poo with my own eyes! And I was in awe…

  21. […] square crap because my brain is warped like that so here’s a good link in case yours is too http://zactopia.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/why-you-should-give-a-square-shit-about-wombats/). The block has a nice little valley running through it with a natural cleared path through the […]

  22. They should teach chickens how it’s done and make it easier for those producers of sliceable cubc eggs-that-fit-perfectly-on-crackers. Or maybe invent some round crackers, perhaps …

  23. They are dangerous to cars and many people have been killed in accidents with them. They need like. Kangaroos to be in national parks, not on our roads!

  24. […] 7. Wombats have cube shaped poop, which they use to remember where they live. – Source […]

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