When I told my father that I’m going to Australia, he said, “Did you know about the tiny spider that children step on and die?” I’m surprised he didn’t mention drop bears: the bears that drop on your head and then you die.
A few weeks ago I blogged about spiders and other deadly Australian animals. I also blogged about cute and deadly Australian animals. All of these critters pale in comparison to Australia’s most mysterious and deadly creature: drop bears.
As if the regular koala with its Freddy Krueger claws weren’t bad enough, its larger, carnivorous, and vicious cousin is really terrifying. The Australian Museum explains:
Drop Bears hunt by ambushing ground dwelling animals from above, waiting up to as much as four hours to make a surprise kill. Once prey is within view, the Drop Bear will drop as much as eight metres to pounce on top of the unsuspecting victim. The initial impact often stuns the prey, allowing it to be bitten on the neck and quickly subdued.
Bush walkers have been known to be ‘dropped on’ by drop bears, resulting in injury including mainly lacerations and occasionally bites. Most attacks are considered accidental and there are no reports of incidents being fatal.
I’m not so sure about that last bit. A Google search will yield many tales and photos of horrifying, bloody encounters when one of these little monsters drops on your head. Thankfully there are things you can do to protect yourself against drop bears.
- Avoid areas known to have drop bears. Like anywhere with trees.
- Spread a little Vegemite behind the ears. Apparently President Obama isn’t the only one that thinks Vegemite is horrible.
- Wear a hat. A big one. You may even consider getting an authentic Australian drop bear hat. They’re pricey, but could save your life.
Remember, look up; stay alive.
Disclaimer: Drop bears are not real. They are part of Aussie lore intended to amuse locals and frighten and confuse travellers who are already afraid of everything that moves in Australia.