Excerpt from the book Animals Evolution Avoided. This book describes 40 animals that ought to exist but don’t, because I made them up.
The Womracquet is a muscular mammal about 1 metre in length that lives on the island of Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea. Adults weigh in the region of 40 kgs and are essentially cube shaped. 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 back legs are used 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.
The upper tunnel will be blocked on the outside with large stones by the Womracquets who will then enlarge this tunnel into a living area. The animals will burrow into the ceiling and create sleeping quarters that are the same size as themselves. When the animals wish to sleep, they jump into their quarters and dig their claws into the earth, so they can’t slip out. If a predator found their burrow, the place would look empty as all the Womracquets would be hidden in the ceiling.