The urban legend, Australia's famous drop bear. Written blog style for SCREAMS!!!
Aussie Truths for the Rest of the World
Blog written by Julie-Ann Asaanj
We always warn tourists about the drop bear, some believe that it’s a real creature, others scoff at the thought. We tell them that it’s just an urban legend; a cousin of the sweet natured herbivore koala, except that it’s twice the size with course orange fur and sharp carnivorous fangs. They have strong arms for climbing to the top of trees, using the height advantage to drop onto its unsuspecting victims, stunning them long enough to sink its sharp teeth into the neck of its prey to disable them. We tell the tourists that it’s just an urban legend, but that’s not true, it is a real creature. One that stealthily hunts hikers, and animals scavenging in the underbrush below, waiting for the most opportune time to drop from above. It has no preference as long as there is fresh meat, because it is a predatory creature.
I have gathered several articles of these real life encounters with these creatures; we have lovingly named drop bears. For those of you who are interested, their scientific name is: Thylarctos Plummetus. The articles were run in local newspapers after human remains were found alongside torn backpacks and strips of clothing. As there were no survivors these articles are mostly speculation as to what happened, using the evidence found at the scenes by the police and investigators who attended these locations.
During my research, I have only been able to find one survivor, as these creatures generally are successful at leaving no one alive after an attack. They will usually only attack small groups or those who have wandered away from a larger group or have become lost. Picking their prey like this ensures there is little to no threat to themselves; making escaping with their food source much easier than if they were to attack a larger group.
The first article comes from the Toowoomba Chronicle in Queensland (1922-2003) and tells the story of two German tourists who decided to go hiking in the Table Top Mountain Range. They were a young couple who were no strangers to hiking, however being from Germany they were used to the wilderness in their home country and not in our lovely foreign land. They set off around midday, their packs filled with sandwiches, bottles of water and other supplies. Now their first mistake was doing this in the middle of the day, when the sun and heat are the most intense. They were seen by a family who were on their way towards the parking lot, having already finished their hike. The family says that the couple had big smiles and were laughing together, taking photos as they went. They exchanged "Hello's" and "Nice day for a hike" as they passed by each other.
And now the couple were alone on the rocky path again. Around an hour or so into their hike, the investigators speculate that the male left the female on the path to go relieve himself several yards into the bushland. That is where he was attacked. He had dropped his backpack several feet away and stood behind a large tree. Proof of this was that his bloodied body was found with his pants unbuttoned and the zipper was down. Chunks of his flesh had been ripped from the bone, his intestines were half missing, it is assumed that they had been consumed. Both teeth marks and deep scratches are found all over his body and on the exposed bones.
It's unclear whether the female heard any noise, but more than likely she probably heard the male scream or call out as she left the path to look for her partner. She was found between the path and the male, her backpack was still on her back, but one shoulder strap had been shredded, the waist strap was still fastened around her body. This time the drop bear focused on her chest, tearing her breasts from her body. Deep claw marks scored across her rib cage and her throat was torn open.
It was two days before they were found. A group of friends were walking the trail and came across the overwhelming smell of rotting flesh, at first they thought it was nothing more than a dead kangaroo or other animal, but then they saw the bright colors of the female's clothes through a break in the branches, they did move closer to her, to see if she was injured, incase they could help her. But they could see straight away that she was dead as there was blood everywhere, flies were buzzing around and crawling all over her. Initially they only reported the body of the female as none of them wanted to get too close to the body and had not noticed the male several yards further in behind the wide tree trunk.
Two of the friends stayed on the path near the deceased tourists while the other two headed back down the path to meet the police. The male's body was discovered once the detectives arrived on scene and searched the area for more clues. The official cause of death was put down as a wild animal attack, but they never officially named the animal. There are no other creatures that could cause that kind of damage to a human, the size and shape of the claw marks as well as the bite marks can be from no other creature than the drop bear.
The second article is from the Ararat Advertiser (1885-now) in Victoria. So we go from the north of Australia to the south now. This time, it's one male, by himself. He had told all of his friends and work colleagues that he was going to go camping in Mount Langi Ghiran, "wherever he felt was right" for a couple days, as he felt he needed to "get back to nature and reset his clock". Approximately three hours into his hike he stopped and began to set up camp. The area he chose was in one of the "off-trail" places along the mountain range. A one man tent with an unlit campfire was found, along with his backpack containing his identification and supplies.
His mutilated body was found almost one hundred yards from the campsite. Although there was evidence that he had been dragged for part of the distance as there were signs of him having struggled against his attacker. Again it was speculated that he had walked away from the campsite to relieve himself or possibly to finish gathering wood for the campfire; as the campsite seemed undisturbed aside from signs of small animals having run through it, looking for possible food. Four days after he left he was reported missing by a friend and it was three more days till he was found.
His stomach had been ripped open exposing his organs, many of which were missing, and presumed eaten by whatever had attacked him. The deep gashes and teeth marks carved into his bones showed evidence of what was again classified as a wild animal attack. The newspaper strongly suggested that the damage could only be caused by a drop bear, however the coroner's report never specified what species of animal had caused the mutilation and damage to the bones. But it did state that the twenty three year old had been still alive for a short period of time after his stomach had been torn open.
Much like their koala cousins, the drop bears rarely have the need to drink water, instead the caecum in their intestines break down the moisture rich flesh and organs of their prey, making it easier to absorb. They tend to eat slowly, but much prefer a warm meal, so when the body starts to go cold they will then move on to find another source of food or, if they have had their fill, they then find a spot to sleep. After a satisfying meal they will sleep for many hours until they have the need for nourishment.
And finally I have a short eyewitness account with the only survivor I could find. I made contact with William via social media; asking him if he would be willing to give me a statement about what he had seen on the day he escaped falling into the clutches of a drop bear. I asked him how he had gotten away after the drop bear had attacked his two friends and what he thought saved him. What follows is his account.
"Matt, Jono and I went out in Jono's jeep, we were gonna go camping and have a few drinks and do some fishing, you know, typical boys weekend. So we left, like usual, on Friday night. We had a regular camping spot that we went to but when we got there someone else was already there. After Matt finished his hissy fit we kept going down the river, looking for another spot we could use that had a good enough area to set up the tents. After half an hour we found somewhere that worked.
We unloaded the car and set up our tent and then the marquee which was placed closer to the water. We would sit in our folding chairs under the marquee and the lines would go into the water. It's so nice to just sit and drink and listen to the radio. No kids, and no wives to bug you for forty eight hours. So that Friday night was like normal, we drank by the fire and talked about what had happened since the last trip.
Then Saturday came and we spent the day fishing. We moved the marquee right to the waters edge so we could have our feet in the cool stream. The little fish nibbled at your toes. At one point Matt gets up for a piss. Then we heard him scream. Jono was the first to find him, but before we could make a run for it the drop bear pounced on him. I ran for my life back to the car and closed and locked the doors. The thing tore out his throat so there was no way he was alive. I wound down the window and called out to them but didn't get a reply. The keys were in the glovebox so I pulled them out and drove the car to where I had seen the drop bear. I flashed the lights and honked the horn to scare it away, hoping to save Matt and Jono.
But by the time I got to them it was too late and the drop bear was nowhere in sight. I waited, looking around and continuing to lean on the horn. I guess the noise disturbed some people nearby cause soon a truck from the ranger station pulled up. They saw the scene and radioed for the police. As for what saved me, it was pure dumb luck, I was the furthest away from the beast."
I'm sure this account given by William will give many of you nightmares for years to come, I know I will be having them again tonight, just like I did the night when he first sent me the story and I read through it. I can't imagine the horror he went through watching his friends be torn apart by the carnivorous creature known as the drop bear. Be aware when you are out in the Australian wilderness and always look up.
And now it's time to say goodbye to all the truther's that follow my blog. Thank you for all your love and support. Julie-Ann logging off! And remember:
The truth is out there!