Booty and the Beast

How well do you know your animal backsides? Take our quiz to see if you can match them all!

After the quiz, build your own beast with our cut-out activity!

Tailed Tushes...

Can you find the distinctive tail-end of this tailed mammal?

The Platypus is one of Australia’s most unusual creatures. It is one of only two animals in the world, which belong to a group called monotemes - mammals that lay eggs!

A Platypus’ rear end is also incredible useful to their survival. Not only does the tail act as a stabiliser as the Platypus floats on top of the water, the tail can also store fat to assist in long periods without food. 
Male Platypuses also have a venomous spur on the end of their hind legs, making them one of the few venomous mammals.

Patterned Posteriors...

Which patterned behind belongs to this timid creature?

Mammal bottoms can be patterned for a variety of reasons—as camouflage, as a social aid to identify mates or herds, even as an insect deterrent.

Thylacines, more affectionately known as Tasmanian Tigers, were given their nickname for the tiger-like stripes over the rear of their bodies. Yet their likeness to tigers pretty much ends there. Thylacines were shy animals that hunted small marsupials, rodents and birds. They employed stamina hunting (chasing prey to exhaustion) over stealth or ambush.

Two thousand years ago, Thylacines were widespread over Australia’s mainland, but in modern times were only found in Tasmania. By the time Thylacines were protected in 1936, their species had already been all but decimated by hunters and farmers. Only two months after they were granted protection status, the last known Thylacine died at a zoo in Hobart.

Fluffy Bums...

Mirror mirror on the wall, who has the fluffiest bum of all?

Koalas have a particularly hard bottom with white specks on the fur that help them camouflage in the trees. Their rump has a dense, inbuilt cushion that is well suited to sitting on firm branches for long periods of time. Koalas in southern Australia have thicker and darker grey fur than Koalas in northern areas.

Koalas do not have an external tail, yet their skeletal structure reveals traces of a tail that would have been more prominent in their evolutionary past. Even without a tail, Koalas have an incredible sense of balance, strong limbs, and particularly powerful thigh muscles that help them climb.

Scaley Butts...

On a scale of 1-10, this critter’s tough butt is 10/10 scaley!

The Giant Armadillo is the largest species of Armadillo alive today! Adults in the wild can weigh up to 54kg.

Armadillos are the only mammals that wear an armoured shell, which is made of bone and covers the top of the animal and their rear. They are found in much of northern South America east of the Andes and live in large burrows. They have huge, strong claws for digging and breaking open delicious termite mounds.

There are twenty varieties of Armadillos. All have poor eyesight and use their keen sense of smell to hunt at night. Some species mark their territories with a characteristic odour secreted from a scent gland located at the base of their tail.

You scored 4


Activity: Build A Beast

If you’ve already aced our Booty and the Beast quiz, why not try building your own wild and wacky beast? By cutting out and mashing together the heads and backsides of different animals from our Wild Gallery, you can invent your very own hybrid animal!

Check out some of our examples for inspiration:

You will need

  • A printed copy of our Build-A-Beast worksheet
  • A blank sheet of paper
  • Some scissors
  • A glue stick
  • Some coloured pencils or textas
  • Your imagination!

What to do

  1. Download our Build A Beast activity sheet:
  2. Using scissors, cut out the heads and backsides of our Wild Gallery animals.
  3. Mix and match the animal body parts until you find your perfect hybrid beast! Then glue them in place on your blank sheet of paper.
  4. Draw a torso or other body parts using your coloured pencils or textas.
  5. Repeat these steps until you have created as many beasts as you like - the wackier, the better!

We would love to see the brilliant beasts you come up with. You can email your creations to our Play team at [email protected] or tag us on social media using #MelbourneMuseum #MuseumAtHome.


Credits: images sourced from Museums Victoria.

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