The Womracquet is a muscular mammal about 1 metre in length that living on Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea. Adults weigh in the region of 40 kgs. Womracquets are herbivores eating grass, bulbs, seeds, and even tree bark in an emergency. They have very short, brown fur matching the colour of the local soil. They dig extensive burrows using the claws on their back legs. Scientists believe the backlegs are used for digging to prevent any dirt getting into the Womracquet’s eyes, which are sensitive as the animal is mainly nocturnal.

The animal’s burrows are unique, containing at least one metre-high vertical rise, used as a defensive feature to thwart attacks by wild dogs, who don’t have the strength to pull themselves up such a rise. How this feature is built is quite remarkable. Two Womracquets will start burrowing on either side of a large mound. One animal will start at a point 1-metre lower than the other. They work this out by measuring the ground with their bodies. As the Womracquets commence their burrowing, they emit high-pitched squeaks as they move towards each other. Once the two animals are at the same point, the upper Womracquet will emit three squeaks in quick succession and then burrow down to the other one’s tunnel.

This is an extract from the book Animals Evolution Avoided