The Australian Bunyip is now sadly on the Mythical Endangered Species list. The draining of its natural mythical habitat, swamps and billabongs, and the damming of rivers for electric plants, has greatly reduced sightings of this folktale monster.
It was never intrinsically bad, like the Kelpie or the Nuckelavee, but the Bunyip is shy of humans and will defend its territory by killing if it has to, and if hungry enough, will hunt humans for food. It normally eats lobster and crayfish.
No one really agrees on what the Bunyip looks like. There are lots of variations, but the general theme is that it’s four-legged, is the size of a bull, with an emu’s neck and horse’s mane and tail. It has a seal’s flippers and two tusks that descend from its upper jaw.
We do know it burrows into river/swamp banks, creating a cozy den for itself, where it lays its soft-shelled eggs, a bit like a turtle.
But nobody’s seen one for a while. Except for this sculpture from the Canadian Museum of Civilization. (If you look closely in the glass, you can see me typing research notes on Jolaine’s iPhone.)
Tasmanian Journal of Natural Science, Agriculture, Statistics, Etc, Published by J. Barnard., 1849
Oliver Ho, Josh Cochran; Mysteries Unwrapped: Mutants & Monsters, Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 2008
A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels and Other Subversive Spirits
by Carol K. Mack, Dinah Mack