Wombat Poop Is Square And Scientists Have Finally Figured Out Why

Scientists have finally solved the mystery of why wombat poop is square - as they are the only known species to do so. 
Credit: Alamy

Scientists have finally solved why wombat poop is square – as they are the only known species to do so. 

Although they have a***es like any other mammal, wombats don’t produce round-shaped or messy piles of pellets.

This has left researchers baffled for years – but now we may finally have an answer as to why the creature has the most neatly shaped faeces in the animal kingdom.

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Scientists at the University of Tasmania have used laboratory testing and mathematical models to do some digging.

Scott Carver, a wildlife ecologist from the University of Tasmania, says in a statement (via CNN): “They place these faeces at prominent points in their home range, such as around a rock or a log, to communicate with each other.

“Our research found that these cubes are formed within the last 17 per cent of the colon intestine.”

Wombat poop
The wombat is the only known species to produce share-shaped poops. Credit: Alamy

The researchers believe that the distinctive shape of wombat poop is due to the drying of faeces in the colon and muscular contractions – which form the size and corners.

A team led by Dr Patricia Yang studied the digestive tracts of wombats put down in road accidents in Tasmania.

The researchers compared the intestines of wombats and pigs by inserting a balloon into the animals’ digestive tracts to see how they would stretch.

They found that in the wombats, the faeces would change from a liquid-like state to a solid state within the last 25 per cent of the intestines.

Yet in the final eight per cent, a varied elasticity of the walls meant the poop would take on a square shape.

Interestingly, the marsupial stack these cubes – the higher they are the better, as they use them to communicate with the other wombats.

Wombats in the wild tend to deposit their droppings on top of rocks or logs and they can be used as territory markers – with them sometimes forming piles.

They prefer to poop in elevated areas, despite the fact they have short, stubby legs.

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Dr Yang says, per the BBC: “We currently have only two methods to manufacture cubes: We mould it, or we cut it. Now we have this third method.

“It would be a cool method to apply to the manufacturing process.”

While Carver says he believes this research may one day help medical scientists, explaining (via ABC): “Colorectal cancer, stress and various other things can influence the kind of faeces that people produce.”

He says that although there may not be direct medical breakthroughs down to the research, it will add to ‘cumulative knowledge that contributes to helping understand human medical conditions’.

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Written by Aimee Walker

Aimee is a senior content editor at IGV who specialises in finding the best original stories, trending topics and entertainment news. She graduated from Birmingham City University with a degree in Media and Communications.