Having stalked its way through Aboriginal legends into modern folklore, the Bunyip is a bizarre aquatic mammal that is said to lurk beneath the placid waters of Australia’s lakes, riverbeds and watering holes.
Harkening back to the Aboriginal “Dreamtime” legends of creation, the Bunyip was considered to be a malevolent water spirit, which emerged only at night to devour any human or animal foolish enough to wander too close to it’s watery abode. The more modern interpretation of this creature is that of an animal that is a biologically manifest and decidedly gentle — if slightly eccentric — herbivore.
Known for its blood-curdling shriek, descriptions of this animal vary as often as the stories told about them. According to the Aborigines, the Bunyip was a species that inhabited numerous amphibious forms, including the “dog-faced” — not unlike the infamous EUROA BEAST — and “long neck” varieties.
That having been stated, the “long neck” version of this creature might actually represent traditional LAKE MONSTER sightings.
Perhaps some eyewitnesses — who were more familiar with local Bunyip legends than those of famous freshwater beasts like CHAMP — may have confused these creatures with the somewhat more common indigenous cryptid.
The debate between the “dog-faced” and “long neck” Bunyips notwithstanding, there are a very few traits which have commonly held true regarding the appearance of this ostensibly HYBRID BEAST.
Said to be approximately the size of a calf, with a canine-like features and a coat of shaggy hair, this animal has also been depicted as having tusks, fins, scales, claws, wings, a long tail and even feathers.
As if the creature’s appearance weren’t strange enough,the Bunyip was said to lay turtle-like eggs in a platypus nest, while subsisting on a diet which varied from crayfish to human beings. It was also said that its guttural growl was akin to a sonic “boom,” which inspired terror in the locals who were often woken in the dead of night by its nefarious cry. Due to the bizarre nature of these accounts, the Bunyip has suffered much ridicule, even among cryptozoological circles.
Despite the obvious multifariousness of the features attributed to this beast, one must admit that the similarities between the Bunyip and other AQUATIC ENIGMAS of Europe — such as the DOBHAR-CHU, EACH-UISGE and KELPIE — are startlingly evident.
While the Bunyip had been recorded in Aboriginal folklore for centuries — where it was described as being as large as a bull with an emu’s head and neck, a horse’s mane and tail and a seal-like flippers — the first modern account of the beast hails from a lagoon near Narrandera where white settlers of the area claimed to have seen the creature in 1872. These witnesses described the mystery animal as being: “half as long again as a retriever dog, with long black hair all over its body.”
Approximately a year later another Bunyip was seen Dalby, which is located in Queensland, home of the QUEENSLAND CARCASS. This creature was described as having the head of a seal, a fish-like tail and, oddly, one small and one large fin.
While these cases may seem to be the product of rich native folklore and settlers with overactive imaginations, the fact remains that Australia is the home to some of the Earth’s most unique animals and that the Bunyip may well be a living, breathing member of Australia’s incredibly diverse fauna.
It has also been suggested by some researchers that the Bunyip may, in fact, be a modern descendant of a prehistoric marsupial known as Diprotodon Australis or, as it more commonly referred, the giant sloth.