back to article Mortal wombat: 4 generations of women fight for their lives against murderous marsupial

Australia has become the gift that keeps giving for quirky news items while western civilisation is on hold. If it's not a house-proud bloke casually telling the prime minister to get off his lawn, it's a homicidal wombat brutally attacking four generations of women. The country is widely known to be unfit for human habitation …

  1. Bibbit

    I love the headline. It would indeed make a good film. Perhaps starring Holly Wallaby.

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      It's a shame Ed Wood is long departed. Killer Wombats from Outer Space! could have been a classic.

      1. RichardEM

        If wombats don't normally attack humans the behavior sounds like that of a Rabid animal. Has the animal been checked and if that is not possible have the humans been vaccinated just in case?

        1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          My thoughts as well. But unless I am mistaken, Australia does not have rabies.

        2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

          No rabies in Australia mate. We've got enough things to worry about!

        3. Aussie Doc Bronze badge

          Nah, mate.

          We don't have rabies here.

          The mutant crocs scared them off.

          1. James_H


            Not that I'm suggesting anyone should drink it.

        4. david 12

          Not RABV (rabies.lyssavirus). Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV). Fruit bats, wombats ....

        5. Cuddles Silver badge

          From the description of events, it appears that the wombat didn't attack anyone, the humans attacked it:

          "He looked up at me and just dived to get past me and I held him for a long time"

          The wombat was startled and tried to run through a convenient opening, so the human grabbed hold of it for no apparent reason, and after some unspecified time of abusing the poor animal was surprised when it started biting her to try to get free. While there's not enough information to be sure, the fight probably only went on for so long because they kept attacking and trying to restrain it instead of just leaving a clear escape route.

          Basically, the humans did pretty much the exact opposite of what you should when faced with a wild animal, and were surprised when a scared, cornered animal reacted in the exact way any sane person would have expected. It doesn't matter what country you're in or how cute or inoffensive you may think an animal is, you do not try to grab hold of wild animals. Just give it an escape route and make sure you're not in the way. If that's not possible, try to contain it by closing doors or whatever and call someone competent to deal with it. Don't dive in to start a wrestling match and then blame the poor animal for fighting back.

    2. Dinanziame Silver badge

      So that's why

      ... They call it trial by wombat!

  2. The Central Scrutinizer

    Come on.... seriously?

    "Dubbo Photo News"? I suspect this is a highly suspect story about the marsupial suspect. Wombats are much loved here and are generally considered friendly, curious creatures. Gotta go.... have to park the kangaroo for the night.

  3. Precordial thump

    Quoted as FreeBSD fortunes 3, 1562 of 2181

    First there was Dial-A-Prayer, then Dial-A-Recipe, and even Dial-A-Footballer.

    But the south-east Victorian town of Sale has produced one to top them all.


    It all began early yesterday when Sale police received a telephone call: "You won't believe this, and I'm not drunk, but there's a wombat in the phone booth outside the town hall," the caller said.

    Not firmly convinced about the caller's claim to sobriety, members of the constabulary drove to the scene, expecting to pick up a drunk.

    But there it was, an annoyed wombat, trapped in a telephone booth.

    The wombat, determined not to be had the better of again, threw its bulk into the fray. It was eventually lassoed and released in a nearby scrub.

    Then the officers received another message ... another wombat in another phone booth.

    There it was: *Another* angry wombat trapped in a telephone booth.

    The constables took the miffed marsupial into temporary custody and released it, too, in the scrub.

    But on their way back to the station they happened to pass another telephone booth, and -- you guessed it -- another imprisoned wombat.

    After some serious detective work, the lads in blue found a suspect, and after questioning, released him to be charged on summons.

    Their problem ... they cannot find a law against placing wombats in telephone booths.

    -- "Newcastle Morning Herald", NSW Australia, Aug 1980.

  4. Precordial thump

    Dubbo is afraid

    I read that under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 it is illegal to harm a wombat "unless a licence is obtained from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment."

    Where can I apply for my wombat-harming license?

    1. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C Bronze badge

      Re: Dubbo is afraid


      The department of PIE?

      or did I misread something?

      icon coz pie rated.

      1. Precordial thump

        Re: Dubbo is afraid

        Yeah, but is it planning, is it industry, or is it environment?

        1. RayG

          Re: Dubbo is afraid

          Clearly planning. You would only apply for a license to harm a wombat if you plan to harm a wombat... surely?

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: Dubbo is afraid

            No. You’d apply for your license to kill if you were planning to make a wombat pie.

            And how could a department so-named refuse you?

      2. Precordial thump

        Re: Dubbo is afraid

        The name's Bogan. James Bogan. Licensed to... harm wombats.

        1. Denarius Silver badge

          Re: Dubbo is afraid

          there are such things as licensed wombat removers, so wombat worriers are a thing

  5. Andy the ex-Brit

    They're starting to wear clothing now?

    "She rushed out to meet the monster still wearing pyjamas."

    When did it put the pyjamas on? This seems relevant.

    1. Lunatic Looking For Asylum

      Re: They're starting to wear clothing now?

      And also :-

      "Kim said: "All of a sudden I understood I had to grab him by the ear and head and lie on his back.."

      Bit too much information there ...

      1. Rikki Tikki

        Re: They're starting to wear clothing now?

        You want tmi?

        "Bum biting" is a wombat mating behaviour ...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What kind of name is "wombat"?

    I mean, it's nothing like a bat, it doesn't fly, it doesn't even have wings.

    Is "wom" Australian for "nothing at all like a"?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What kind of name is "wombat"?

      I think 'cause "wom" is the sound the cricket bat makes went you use it to fend off the crazy beasties? and thus the name was born.

    2. adrianww

      Re: What kind of name is "wombat"?

      Obviously, it’s a bat with which you play the traditional Australian game of wom.

      Not sure about the rules or size of the playing field etc. but I’m sure you can find out somewhere.

      Mind you, in situations such as the one described in the article, you’d probably need a wombat-bat. Or should that be wom(bat)^2?

  7. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    I sincerely hope it was not a rabid wombat. Rabies are not fun.

    Was said wombat teleported from the Discworld just to "get rid of that pesky critter, buggrit millenium hand and shrimp!"?

    1. rdm

      Not very likely - rabies is one thing that we are fastidious about keeping out.

      Mind you, the local analogues of it are not fun either, but they are mainly carried by bats, not marsupials.

  8. Spanners Silver badge

    There used to be military wombats...








    Think of it as a really big bazooka!

    1. Lotaresco

      Re: There used to be military wombats...

      "There used to be military wombats... "

      COVID connection. The WOMBAT was the improved version of the BAT.

      1. rdm

        Re: There used to be military wombats...

        And then there is the taie of the anti-aircraft kangaroo squads.

        Snopes, of course, has both versions available. Knowing someone who was on the fringes of the project, I can say that the 'official' version is *mostly* accurate.

  9. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    A New South Walian wombat

    Is unmatched in unarmed combat.

    Bare-handed one can't match it,

    But with the aid of a hatchet,

    One may finally dispatch it.

    Just don’t call in the army,

    That decision would seem barmy,

    In light of their failure against the Emu,

    In the war of 1932.

    [with apologies to poets everywhere...]

    1. OssianScotland

      You are William McGonagall and I claim my five pounds

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Could it be possible...

    I'm imagining a team of scientists, many years hence, discovering that the many dangerous, aggressive, venomous, poisonous, etc. etc. creatures in Australia serve soft of as antibodies against foreign invaders. Ok, clearly science fiction, but would explain the abundance of nasty critters.

    If true, keep an eye out for new species - something that behaves extremely aggressively toward anything producing EM radiation (and anything near that)...

    1. KarMann Silver badge

      Re: Could it be possible...

      So basically, Harry Harrison's Deathworld series, then (but mostly the first book, of course).

  11. Dr. Ellen


    Long ago, I was told to collect the sounds of heartbeats for as many animals as possible. I took the electronic stethoscope and the tape recorder and went to the zoo, where I'd arranged to meet a cooperative zookeeper. Most animals were uncoooperative, but I got quite a few recordings. The two scariest animals I met were the ostrich -- and the wombat. Those beasts got claws.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Wombatnado

      That sounds like an awesome project. Especially having a sample library to pick & mix from for future horror movies. When I visited Australia, I saw a police team educating people about the risks of Australian wildlife.. of which there seemed many. They warned that wombats have a tendency to curl up on roads, then flip cars that hit them.. Presumably so the combat wombats can then mug the drivers.

      I still think the cassowary's the scariest critter though.

      1. Aussie Doc Bronze badge

        Re: Wombatnado

        One of the scariest (if you haven't been forewarned) evening sounds out woop woop is that of koalas in a tree at night.

        I kid you not - the growling sounds that they make is scary as to anybody who's never heard it before.

        Also, the wombat, being solid muscle, is totally able to write off a motor vehicle after being hit and still able to walk away slightly annoyed.


        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Wombatnado

          I kid you not - the growling sounds that they make is scary as to anybody who's never heard it before.

          Heh, something to add to my YT search. I never got the chance to go bush (unless Melbourne counts), but something I'd like to do. From my time spent in the great outdoors, it's interesting to hear the night sounds in the peace & quiet of the country. Here in the UK, strangest noises are probably from foxes. Or one night, I heard a terrible screaming from outside my window. Looked to check what was going on, and it was just a pair of hedgehogs mating. Gentleman that I am, I left them to it.. But a suprisingly loud noise from a small critter.. Or maybe not suprising given the spines..

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Wombatnado



            Aw, cute wombat chittering.. Or perhaps it's just sharpening it's teeth, ready to pounce..

      2. Denarius Silver badge

        Re: Wombatnado

        according to local lore, wombats do attack lower leg to snap/cut archilles tendon. Why I don't know. Perhaps one of the big ones killed by climate change 20K years ago was carnivorous. Would match the Aboriginal Bunyip legend anyway

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Wombatnado

          I think a lot of animals will do that, ie normal for wolves & dogs when hunting/herding. One of those curious things, like how they learn/inherit those skills. For wolves, they're sneaky, so pack using distraction so they can circle around and bring down their prey. For dogs, can be worrying, especially in breeds like collies where they can instinctively herd kids back to their human pack with a nip to the ankle.

          As for wombats, I guess that's just Australia. They've probably dealt with all the larger predators, but still retain detailed files on potential targets.

  12. HildyJ Silver badge

    The Big Picture

    You're missing the big picture.

    "Gemma's husband was inside one of the property's houses working remotely for a "US aerospace company" with his headphones on – blissfully unaware of the carnage going on outside."

    Clearly this is a story about the benefits of telecommuting.

  13. rcxb Silver badge

    Wearing pyjamas?

    She rushed out to meet the monster still wearing pyjamas.

    I can't say I've ever seen a wombat wearing pajamas before. El Reg really buried the lead on this one.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      really buried the lead

      Pedant alert: *lede.

      Unless you're saying a pet has died somewhere?

    2. logicalextreme Silver badge

      Re: Wearing pyjamas?

      Upvoted, though it's "lede". Now you, too, can be a pedant.

  14. TheProf Silver badge

    Tim the Enchanter

    "That rabbit's wombat's got a vicious streak a mile wide!"

    All: run away, run away!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    for those of you in oz...

    Check out episodes 3 and 4 on iview of "at home alone together with you". Wombats Are Neither Kind, Cute Or Cuddly.

  16. Hazmoid

    to be honest, I think this is a beatup

    wombats are generally nocturnal and will avoid humans. I suspect the story started small and grew from there as do most tall tales.

    1. Denarius Silver badge

      Re: to be honest, I think this is a beatup

      No, not a beat up. Some seem to be insomniacs and can be seen during day.Saw one wander across a glider winch launch rope just as Take Up Slack given, which was rapidly followed by Stop Stop Stop. Time: Around noon in middle of big clear paddock, a long way from burrows. Local ones are mostly evening and early morning, not nocturnal. And given rural Ozzies being used to space, perhaps wombat got cabin fever from the lock down, like the rest of us.

  17. marky_boi

    true enough , reported about quite a bit in AU

    p.s. no rabies in AU

  18. EatsRootsAndLeaves

    Another wombat reference from the Fortune program

    the wombat lives across the seas

    among the far antipodes

    he may exist on nuts and berries

    or then again on missionaries

    the wombat's distant habitat precludes

    conclusive knowledge of his moods

    but I would not engage the wombat

    in any form of mortal combat

    - From the Unix 'fortune' program

    1. Sanguma

      Re: Another wombat reference from the Fortune program

      Ogden Nash, none other! (Have an upvote - I thought it was Hilaire Belloc or GK Chesterton, woe is me.)

      1. hnwombat

        Re: Another wombat reference from the Fortune program

        Nash indeed, along with a companion stanza from SWMBO:

        This wombat lives in the computer room

        Among the disks and dark and gloom.

        He may exist on take-out lunches,

        Or Apple salesmen fried in bunches.

        His lofty mental state precludes

        Conclusive knowledge of his moods.

        But I would not engage this wombat

        In any form of on-line combat.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surely a Drop Bear, ...

    ... mistaken for a wombat, because not attacking from an elevated position such as a tree.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like a Zombeaver

  21. Aquatyger

    Wombats are able to walk during the day

    Both my wife and I have been bitten by a wombat in the morning light at Cradle Mountain. We were wondering why it was biting us until we worked out we were between it and its breakfast further up the track and it wanted us out of the way.

  22. herman Silver badge

    Scenes from our next attraction...

    In the next installment, the three women all have rabies and are running around biting other people, with the axe man in hot pursuit...

  23. Aquatyger

    You may wonder why we survived this relatively non-aggressive chewing but I suspect it was because it was a nice wombat. It was slightly smaller than the average wombat, has a nice coloured coat and long eyelashes so I suspect it was a girly wombat and thus less likely to behave like the one in the story. Anyway, if the people in the story had not panicked and had kept their heads I am sure they could have avoided the rampant attack. All this falling over allowing the wombat to go for the groin strikes me of hysteria.

  24. Aquatyger

    There are no rabies in Australia. God, in creating Australia, gave us enough to worry about.

  25. KBeee Bronze badge

    Were guns involved, or was it unarmed wombat?

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