Australia

Bunyip

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For those who grew up in Australia, the bunyip will be familiar. The bunyip is a large mythical creature from Australian Aboriginal mythology, said to lurk in swamps, billabongs, creeks, riverbeds and waterholes. It has been described as a giant starfish that walks on land – imagine that! Other 19th-century newspaper clippings describe it as having a dog-like face, dark fur, a horse-like tail, flippers, and walrus-like tusks or horns or a duck like bill. The very first description of this bizarre Australian cryptid appeared in a newspaper 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 blacks 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.”

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