Australia has some thoroughly cooked creatures dwelling in its waters. For example, platypi (yes, platypi) are really quite not OK. Sure, they’re sort of cute – although I saw one IRL and they are fundamentally less cute up close. But the bill? The weird fur but also they’re basically a tiny duck? I hate it. We also have some thoroughly cooked “mythical” (read: absolutely real) creatures. Like the bunyip.
The bunyip has its origins in Indigenous Dreamtime stories, although not all groups call the creature a bunyip. In fact, the name originated from the Wemba-Wemba/Wergaia language in the Victoria region. The creature however rears it’s foul head in many stories from different Aboriginal groups across Australia, so this thing isn’t a Victoria-only monster, guys.
Bunyips are water-dwelling creatures, said to inhabit creeks, rivers, billabongs and swamps. While they get confused often with the Yowie, they’re nothing like those WAY less evil-sounding creatures. Bunyips tend to operate solo, and can be found anywhere, really (whereas Yowies in general seem to prefer coastal foresty areas).
Here’s a fun story – a bunyip will sneak up on you if you enter it’s dwelling area – so basically, if you swim in the waters it inhabits, or go for a jaunt along the creek bed. Don’t do that – especially not at night, when the bunyip is most active. They’ll sneak up on you, then EAT YOU. Bye! See ya! Oh and they prefer women, which I can’t decide if I find misogynistic or feminist. Like do I love them that they prefer a diet of ladies, or is that downright rude.
As you can probably already tell, the bunyip is HORRIFIC visually. Like absolutely, 110% Nopesville Arizona. While there’s no definitive description of a bunyip, leading me personally to believe these things are spiritual demons who can shape morph, the ones we DO have are absolute hell x more hell x infinite levels of hell.
We’ve got a 19th-Century newspaper saying the bunyip has a dog-like face, a crocodile-like head, dark fur, a horse-like tail, flippers, and walrus-like tusks or horns, or a duck-like bill. HOW ABOUT A SPOONFUL OF ABSOLUTELY-THE-HELL-NOT, SUSAN!
How about this one from the Geelong Advertiser in 1845:
“The Bunyip, then, is represented as uniting the characteristics of a bird and of an alligator. It has a head resembling an emu, with a long bill, at the extremity of which is a transverse projection on each side, with serrated edges like the bone of the stingray. Its body and legs partake of the nature of the alligator. The hind legs are remarkably thick and strong, and the fore legs are much longer, but still of great strength. The extremities are furnished with long claws, but the [Indigenous peoples] say its usual method of killing its prey is by hugging it to death. When in the water it swims like a frog, and when on shore it walks on its hind legs with its head erect, in which position it measures twelve or thirteen feet in height.”
Excuse me? I do not need anything on the planet I live in that can swim like a frog, then walk on its hind legs, while possessing a long serrated bill thank YOU very much.
The most common spots in terms of bunyip sightings are the Geelong area and the Murray River, but there have been sightings all over Oz. Want more? You’ll have to listen to our latest All Aussie Mystery Hour podcast – where we delve into all the weird descriptions of this nightmare creature, plus a bunch of sighting stories and a few theories that *may* debunk the mystery.
Or not. Because scary creatures? Totally real.Image: National Library Of Australia / Artist Unknown (1935)