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7 Incredible Mythical Animals in Australian Folklore

While mythical monsters from other countries, such as the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, or the Abominable Snowman, may be more well-known, Australia is said to be home to a wide variety of peculiar, odd, and occasionally terrifying creatures. Spend your upcoming weekend searching for these cryptids from mythology. You might be the one to bring the myth to life.

1. The Australian Bunyip

The Bunyip was first acknowledged by the Aboriginal peoples in tales of the Dreamtime tens of thousands of years ago. English settlers in the 1800s also recorded “sightings” of the Bunyip. The fabled Bunyip has been described in various ways, from a mythical creature to a nocturnal frog that lurks in swamps, billabongs, and riverbeds.


The word “Bunyip,” which loosely translates to “frightening monster” or a “bad spirit,” was invented by the Wemba-Wemba people of Victoria, according to Australian Aboriginal religion and folklore. According to legend, the underwater creature is a sea monster that feeds on humans and whose moans may be heard in the Outback waters at night.

The Bunyip is currently considered an extinct enormous wombat called the “diprotodon” that prowled the inland waters 20,000 years ago, with the eerie sounds possibly emanating from bittern marsh birds. Others think it might simply be a case of mistaken identity by early European settlers who also thought kangaroos to be quite mystical in and of themselves.

2. Otways Panther

The fabled Otways Panther’s existence is still up for debate. When the forest joins the shore of Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, the elusive “big cat” has allegedly been spotted through the Otway Ranges.


Since the 1830s, reports of supposed sightings of black panthers in the wild have been recorded. These reports have ranged from new Eastern immigrants’ rumors of “large cats” in the wild to sworn testimonies and modern videos. All have described the fabled beast as being a big, black, four-legged animal like a panther.

Many hypotheses have been put forth, including the historical commerce in exotic animals, the growth of feral cats in the area, and the possibility that they originated from traveling circuses or foreign military in the past.

3. Hawkesbury River Monster

This is what proponents of the Hawkesbury River Monster assert to have seen, and you may have to see it to believe it. Anecdotal reports of the mysterious cryptid, also known as the Mooney Mooney Monster, stretch back to the 1800s, even though Aboriginal rock art from the area, which describes a similar creature known as the “Moolyewonk,” is more than three thousand years old.


The sea monster is typically described as grey, with an enormous body like an eel, an extended head, four flippers, and a thick tail. The water serpent is said to have been swimming near Australia’s coastline since the Cretaceous period.

Australia’s own Loch Ness Monster may have been a huge crocodile, catfish, eel, or swimming goanna, according to a study, even if current legend hunters have not yet offered proof of its existence.

4. Yara-ma-yha-who

From the Dreamtime, Australian Aboriginal mythology has described a cryptid known as “The Outback Vampire.” According to legend, the Yara-ma-yha-who appears as a small red man with a huge head and no teeth, resembling a miniature monkey-man or mini monster, and utilizes suckers on the tips of its hands to consume human flesh when it falls from fig trees.


Despite the concept can terrify tourists, residents are much less worried in a place where there are huge spiders and venomous snakes.

The legendary creature has been compared to the Southeast Asian tarsier primate, even though these are not known to exist in the Australian Outback. The story of The Outback Vampire may have been exploited as an Australian bush urban legend rather than actual sightings.

5. Yowie

Not the chocolate variety. The Yowie, the Yahoo, Hairyman, or Pangkarlangu, was initially depicted in Aboriginal Australian folklore. Is it possible that the Yowie and Big Foot are distant relatives?


Alleged sightings of the monster date back to the 1700s, and each one describes a similar creature: a tall, chiseled man with ape-like hair who looks like a hybrid between a gorilla and a human. Across the world, sightings of creatures akin to Bigfoot (or Sasquatch) are reported, including the Abominable Snowman (Yeti) in the Himalayas and the Yeren in China.

Although there have been reported sightings, and the creature has even given its name to candy and movies, devoted “Yowie Hunters” are still looking for concrete evidence to support this urban legend. Despite there being no scientific evidence to support the existence of the Byron Big Foot beast, the Yowie has even received its own statue in the state of Queensland.

6. Burrunjor

Despite contradicting accounts of this enormous reptile Indigenous cryptid, confirmed sightings between the 1950s and the 1980s describe the animal as walking on two legs, much like a 20th-century tyrannosaurus rex.


According to local lore, Burrunjor, also known as “Old Three Toes” by the Aboriginal people, is a nocturnal lizard that preys on native cattle and kangaroos and leaves behind gigantic tracks and missing livestock in its wake.

Recent research has led to the theory that a giant lizard called a “perentie,” which can grow up to three meters long and eat animals as big as goats, lives in the lower Outback, between South Australia and the Northern Territory.

7. Drop Bear

The Australian Drop Bear is a well-known mythical monster among the Australian people, who appear to have taken it upon themselves to warn any foreign visitors about the koala-like predator, which is rumored to only attack outsiders.

Drop Bears are said to ambush people standing beneath native Australian trees by dropping from the branches and grabbing onto their necks, according to an urban legend in its own right.


The Drop Bear, also known as the “Thylarctos Plummetus,” has been a recurring figure in Australian mythology for over 50 years. Putting vegemite behind the ears or wearing forks in one’s hair are two common cures.

Australians should be aware that, like the “Hoop Snake,” the “Drop Bear” is a hoax. However, it’s possible that the slang term was inspired by a marsupial lion, or “Thylacoleo,” that lived about four million years ago.

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