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Humor: Australia’s most feared creature is an overgrown koala

Samantha Swainson, Staff Reporter

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When you picture the most dangerous animal on Earth, what do you think of? Do you think of an enormous beast, teeth gnawing on it’s latest victim and claws stained red? On average it isn’t something small, it is something of nightmares. A true horror.

To inhabitants of Australia or tourists lost in the underbrush, there is no chase. You’ll be walking calmly through the trees when you hear something falling. Looking up, dark shapes plummet to Earth and only is it when you’re pinned to the ground, your breathing failing you, does it come to light that you’re being eaten by an overgrown Koala.

The lore of Australia certainly contains their most fearsome beast. A few feet tall, short claws and generally regarded as adorable. A creature known to inhabit eucalyptus trees and maul any flesh covered organism that walks beneath it’s tree. The Drop Bear or in its scientific name, Thylarctos plummetus.

“The bigger kids would always warn us new guys to stay together and not wander away, especially at night,” Steven Sloan, born and raised in Australia, said. “Because a single smaller kid would make an easy target for a drop-bear.”

Tourists passing through Australia are frequently reminded to watch out for the koala’s carnivorous cousin, citing places to avoid such as heavily wooded areas at night and places containing tall arches.

“I have heard that one of the problems with the increasing sprawl of the big cities in Australia is the loss of drop-bear natural habitat and that encounters may be on the rise,” Sloan said.

Drop bear paraphernalia litters the continent with shirts, cups, banners and children’s books such as, “Beware the Drop Bear” and “Matilda and the Three Drop Bears.” Most of these including warnings and interesting facts about the ferocious man-eating mammals.

Each fun fact about the cute predators also talks about the serious dangers and signals telling if a drop bear is near. These include the echoing of belching across the Australian underbrush and the creaking of large branches coming from above you.

Sceptics argue the theory of such ravenous beasts living among the people of Australia, claiming the idea of overgrown koalas eating people is ridiculous. Every year tourists flood the brush in search of proof these dangerous creatures couldn’t exist, only to never come back.

More protests seem to arise saying any other animal could’ve taken these foolish souls. “Nothing,” Sloan said, “Leaves a mark like a drop bear does.”

The idea seems ridiculous till the drop bear pins you to the ground and your breathing fails you, it’s sharp teeth tear into your shoulder as you struggle beneath it.

“Remember that Australia is a place with kangaroos and wombats and a host of other weird animals,” said Sloan. “If I described a platypus to you, would you believe something that odd existed? Why not drop-bears?”

Days later your body is found mangled and covered in grey fur. The world says an animal attack, but Australians shake their head at their claims. They, and now you, understand the dangers of the Drop Bear.

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The student news site of Ballard High School
Humor: Australia’s most feared creature is an overgrown koala