A wombat will hoist an intrusive dingo on its back and crush it against the roof of its burrow.
It can skittle a fully grown man as if a 120-litre barrel had bowled him over.
And in zoos around Australia, it is understood wombats attract the second-highest danger rating, a rung down from lions and bears.
So it comes as no surprise to author and wombat expert James Woodford that 60-year-old bushfire survivor Bruce Kringle wound up in hospital after a sustained mauling from a wombat he encountered during an early morning call of nature.
"A wombat is definitely capable of that sort of stuff," Mr Woodford, author of The Secret Life of Wombats, said.
"They knock you over like a skittle, just run into you."
Mr Kringle said he was walking down his caravan steps in Flowerdale, Victoria, early on Tuesday when the wombat charged at him, knocked him down and repeatedly bit him.
"The initial hit when he hits you and then he goes to gore you ... just takes the wind out of you so can't do nothing," he said.
He ended up lying on top of the frenzied marsupial calling for help.
A neighbour eventually killed the wombat with a blow from the back of an axe.
Mr Kringle will spend a second night in the Northern Hospital where he's being treated for bite marks to his legs and arms and scratches on his chest, a spokesman said.
He will be discharged tomorrow "if all goes well", the spokesman said.
Mr Woodford said human to wombat combat was unusual but not unheard of.
"The bottom line is that they're really cute and cuddly in the first couple of years of life but then they become quite solitary and they can be quite aggressive when they reach maturity," he said.
"They're really only good around people while they're babies.
"The image of the cute and cuddly combat is a load of hogwash."
Mr Woodford said he did not come across any fatal wombat attacks while researching his book, which was published in 2001.
"But after I wrote [it] I had several people contact me afterwards with wombat attack stories," he said.
One man in the southern highlands told Mr Woodford he was attacked while trying to save his miniature fox terrier, which had run down a wombat burrow.
"He hit the wombat with his shovel to make it release the dog and the wombat came back at him, knocked him over, bit him on the chest, and he actually ended up in hospital from the bite wounds getting infected," he said.
Mr Kringle's wife said the doctors who treated her husband were incredulous.
"He's got bites all over him," Yvonne Kringle said.
"The doctors said they can't believe how many bites he's got.
"He's got a few scratches but it's mainly bites."