Wombat Poop (Poo) Why do Wombats do Square Poo?

wombat's cube-shaped feaces

Photo: Cube-shaped wombat poop (faeces)

The wombat is the only animal in the world that does cubed poop (faeces), which is officially referred to as "scat".

No. The wombat does not have a square anus opening to produce cube-shaped poops. They have normal a normally shaped anus like other animals. So how does it do it?

How is the Wombat's Cube Poop Made?

The wombat has a very long digestive tract. As food passes through the last 30% of its bowel, it enters flexible and rigid sections of the intestine that contract at different rates as the faeces passes through it. Some parts squeeze harder than others. This compresses the poop material into cube-shaped, extremely compacted dry pellets. The faeces then retain its compact dry cube shape when it is defecated. This is how the cube poop is made.

• What is a Wombat?

Why Does the Wombat Make Cube Shaped Poop?

wombat poo

Photo: More cube-shaped wombat poop

The wombat's poop is a warning to other wombats and a scent signal to find its way home at night.

Wombats are nocturnal animals with poor eyesight but with an excellent sense of smell. They also prefer to live alone and react badly when other wombats encroach on their territory. So to keep the peace, wombats have evolved a unique signalling mechanism. It is with their poop.

A wombat leaves its poop outside its barrow—on logs, rock and other predominant places, as a scent signal. The scent from its scat helps the animal find its way back home to its burrow in the dark. This poop is also like an animal business card. It tells other wombats that the burrow is occupied and the owner's age, sex, sexual maturity, general health, and what type of wombat it is.

Wombats are not unique in using their faeces as a signal. Other animals do this too. The uniqueness of a wombat's poo is that it is cube-shaped. The reason seems to be that its unique six-sided shape cube-shape is more visible and does not roll off easily. By pooping in strategic locations around its territory, a wombat signals other wombats to stay away. The wombat deposits between 80 to 90 of these cubed scats a day. Each deposit consists of approximately four to eight cubes.