How Australia’s drop bear became its most lethal– and most phony– predator


Sydney, Australia (CNN)– Ask practically any Australian about a drop bear, and they’ll likely state a close encounter with this meat-eating, fanged cousin of the Australian koala.

They may explain how a relative was seriously hurt throughout a drop bear attack, or claim that a pal directly left death at the hands of the vicious predator.

And they’ll all be lying. The drop bear does not exist.

Lots of nations have an animal which is reported to exist however is never ever seen– believe dragons, yetis and the Sea serpent.

However with the drop bear, there’s a twist. No Australian in fact thinks it exists– it’s simply utilized to frighten individuals, generally of the foreign range.

Here’s how it generally works: A traveler will head into the bush when an Australian will alert them to “look out for the drop bears.” When they ask what that is, the traveler will be informed it is a vicious, clawed animal that drops all of a sudden from trees.

” You get them searching for at the trees, anxious,” stated Ian Coate, author and creator of the site Mythic Australia. “You get such a gorgeous response, it simply interest that Aussie funny bone.”

However some Australians have actually taken its phony animal scam to a totally brand-new level. The Museum of Australia has actually produced a phony details page on its site, which warns of the dangers of these fictitious animals.

” When victim is within view, the Drop Bear will drop as much as 8 meters to catch top of the unwary victim. The preliminary effect typically stuns the victim, enabling it to be bitten on the neck and rapidly suppressed,” the site checks out.

Even some Australia n celebs are in on the joke. When CNN Travel asked Australian movie star Chris Hemsworth for guidance on avoiding drop bears in 2018, he stated: “Bring an umbrella.”

The origins of the drop bear

Regardless of the drop bear’s appeal and growing global track record, its real origins are unidentified.

The drop bear legend does not appear to have actually been stimulated by a specific popular book or movie, for instance. According to the the National Library of Australia, the very first look of a drop bear in an Australian paper is a harmless listing in “The Canberra Times,” the paper for the nationwide capital, in 1982.

” TAM– Be careful of drop bears in the future, for sure, absolutely like Clint,” a message in the 21st Birthdays column checks out. It isn’t clear who TAM or Clint were.

Some trace the legend of the drop bear back to a sketch by famous Australian comic and star Paul Hogan (best understood to immigrants as Crocodile Dundee), on his program “The Paul Hogan Program” which aired in the 1970s and 80s.

In one scene, Hogan is playing a parody of Indiana Jones called “Cootamundra Hoges,” who is checking out the imaginary “Valley of Goannas” when he is assaulted by killer koalas.

The koalas jump from the trees and start savaging Hogan, who is up to the ground covered in them.

However Mythic Australia’s Coate stated that he remembered his scout leader informing him stories of drop bears in the early 1970s, prior to Hogan even went to air.

” When you’re out outdoor camping, the old drop bear was utilized when they didn’t desire you to leave the camp premises too far,” he stated, including he was informed if he entered into the bush, “the drop bears will get you.”

It appears that while the drop bear has now end up being a tale with which to frighten travelers, it likely started as a basic ghost story utilized to alarm Australian kids. Not every Australian matured with stories of drop bears, however those who do keep in mind being outlined drop bears by their moms and dads, specifically individuals who matured in the nation or in farming neighborhoods.

In this picture, which is definitely photoshopped, a drop bear attacks an innocent family.

In this photo, which is certainly photoshopped, a drop bear attacks an innocent household.

Courtesy Mythic Australia

Coate stated that a few of the very first visitors to Australia to be startled by the drop bear may not have actually been travelers at all.

When Coate remained in the army in the late 1980s as part of the study corps, he stated that often checking out soldiers from the UK and United States would come by to do workouts out in the Australian bush and, when they did, they ‘d inquire about how to prevent Australia’s notoriously harmful snakes and spiders.

” The Australians would respond, Forget the snakes and spiders, it’s the drop bears you need to watch out for,” Coate stated. He remembered informing checking out soldiers the only method to keep away drop bears was to smear the Australian dressing Vegemite on their faces.

” Inevitably, our Aussie soldiers would chuck the checking out soldier a container of Vegemite and it would take them a couple of days to capture on that they’re Vegemite on their face and it wasn’t doing anything,” he stated, chuckling.

The Drop Bears

There is, nevertheless, one clear marker of when the legendary drop bears started to get in Australian popular culture.

In 1981, bass gamer Chris Toms and his New Zealander good friend Johnny Batchelor formed a band in Sydney with a post-punk, melodic pop noise– after some consideration, they chose to call it “The Drop Bears.”

Batchelor stated that up until he pertained to Australia from New Zealand he had actually never ever become aware of the legendary animal, however he remembered Toms, who had actually matured in rural New South Wales, explaining it as a little bit of an Australian ghost story.

“( He stated) it was a story that individuals would inform to frighten you, to inform kids and things. Inform them you have actually got to beware or (the drop bears) will fall and take you,” Batchelor stated.

They accepted the name, however Batchelor stated that he rapidly wearied of it. When they started to go to radio stations around Australia to promote their music, he stated the very first concern was usually the exact same– “what is a drop bear?”

As the Drop Bears attempted to attain more traditional success, Batchelor stated the name ended up being an “albatross around our neck.”

” It seemed like a problem, it seemed like that wasn’t what we wished to be,” he stated.

Batchelor stated that he believes the appeal of the drop bear phenomenon isn’t simply connected to the Australian funny bone however likewise to the pride that the nation takes in their harmful animals.

Even without the drop bears, Australia is well-known for its lethal animals, consisting of a wide range of sharks, snakes and 2 of the world’s most poisonous spiders.

” They like to impress individuals from abroad (with their harmful animals),” he stated. “I believe it’s less about informing kids now and more about beware the tourist.”

The increase of the drop bear

If the Drop Bears had actually been formed simply twenty years later on, they may not have actually needed to describe their name so typically. In the age of the web, the misconception of the drop bear has actually just grown in appeal.

In January 2020, according to Google Trends, look for the drop bear surpassed both the Sea serpent and the American jackalope in regards to fictional-creature appeal.

It’s been assisted along by a variety of prominent looks by the drop bear in Australian media and culture. In 2004, Bundaberg Rum launched an ad in which a group of Australians attempt to strike up a discussion with some appealing German backpackers by alerting them about the lethal predator.
In 2013, significant nature publication Australian Geographical launched an April Fool’s day article entitled, “Drop bears target travelers, research study states.”
A drop bear -- again, we need to clarify that they are photoshopped and not real -- prepares to ambush Mythic Australia's Ian Coate.

A drop bear– once again, we require to clarify that they are photoshopped and not genuine– prepares to assail Mythic Australia’s Ian Coate.

Courtesy Mythic Australia

As just recently as January 2020, a UK journalist for ITV went viral after she was pranked by an Australian wildlife park, throughout which she was worn heavy protective equipment prior to being offered a “drop bear” to hold. (It was simply a koala.)

It was just after the noticeably anxious reporter handed off the koala that it emerged it was simply a routine animal and not a fatal predator.

With the drop bear joke now even being pointed out on regular travel sites, Australia’s nationwide joke on the world is spreading out much faster than ever. However regardless of not being a fan of his close association with the phony predator, co-founder of the Drop Bears Batchelor stated that perhaps the misconception was losing a few of its effect as it ended up being more commonly understood.

“( Possibly) it alters the power of it,” Batchelor stated. “You see such a great deal of things on the web, it may all end up being boring. Whereas when somebody is informing an enjoyable frightening story about some frightening animal, it’s more genuine to you,” he stated.

And in a paradoxical twist, idea has actually emerged just recently that there might have when been a fatal predator in Australia who did drop from trees to assault its victim.

Historical proof indicate an ancient marsupial lion, named thylacoleo carnifex, which lived and hunted in Australia countless years back, and potentially had the capability to climb up and jump from trees. Some have actually recommended this is the real origin of the drop bear misconception.

Mythic Australia’s Coates now composes books for kids about the drop bear to assist motivate young Australians to take pride in their nationwide legends. Coates stated the point of the drop bear legend isn’t simply to frighten individuals, however rather bring them together.

” It’s simply enjoyable that assists construct a relationship, it indicates 2 individuals are sharing in the joke … It’s that Aussie method of laughing and bringing individuals in on a joke and downplaying a scenario,” he stated.



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