There’s always an allusion to something in the more bizarre of Sir Pterry’s inventions. Perhaps a combination of vagule recalled weirdnesses from real life:
Australia is known for its strange and deadly wildlife, with plenty of attention given to venomous snakes and bird-eating spiders. But it seems one terrifying aspect of outback fauna has been thoroughly ignored: the wombat’s deadly bum.
The rump of the wombat is hard as rock, used for defence, burrowing, bonding, mating and possibly violently crushing the skulls of its enemies against the roof of its burrow. Although the jury is still out on that one.
The marsupials’ bums are made up of four plates fused together and surrounded by cartilage, fat, skin and fur. Alyce Swinbourne, an expert in wombat bottoms from the University of Adelaide, says wombats will use their backside to “plug” up their burrows, stopping predators entering and protecting softer areas of their anatomy.
Wombats don’t live in trees but koalas do. Combine the two and we have our drop bear.