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Written by Zachary Ashford

G’day, guys and girls. I’m Zachary Ashford. I’m the author of a couple of fun Unnerving titles about killer koalas, but more on that in a moment. Right now, I’m here to introduce you to some of the unexpected Australian animals that’ll quite happily make your life miserable when you least expect it!

As you might be able to tell from my salutation, I’m an Aussie. Technically. I’ve been here since I was about the size of a bee’s dick, and in that time, I’ve come to know a thing or two about our wildlife. I guess you could say it’s a bit of a passion, and for me, it’s one that feeds into my love of creature features. Deadset, my new book from Unnerving, Sole Survivor II, is chockers with mutant marsupial madness in the form of killer koalas.

Those hungry pricks aside, you probably don’t need me to tell you just how dangerous some of our critters are. We’re kinda notorious for our snakes, spiders, scorpions, sharks, centipedes, crocodiles, backpacker murderers, box jellyfish, and baby-eating dingoes. Deadset, even our kangaroos have developed a bit of a name for themselves, but those of you who know Alan Baxter’s excellent tale, The Roo, will know all about that. (And, yeah, that was inspired by a real news story about a feisty kangaroo!)

But, and it’s a big but (snigger), despite our reputation for fierce creatures, we actually have a fair few supposedly nice ones that might surprise you. And that’s what I’m here to tell you about today: five surprising Aussie critters that will fuck you up!

So, if you're heading to this great southern land anytime soon, remember to watch out for these pricks:

PlatypusPhoto Credit E.Lonnon via Wikimedia Commons

They might be rarer than rocking horse shit, they might inhabit only the most pristine waterholes and they might bugger off as soon as they realise there are humans about, but if you do happen to come across a platypus, don’t give it a cuddle. Sure, they look like Howard the Duck rooted a beaver, but their gumby appearance is balanced by the fact the males will mess you up and refuse to send you a get well card. They have a nasty little venomous spur on their rear foot. And, no, I’m not joking. Not only are they egg-laying mammals, but they’re venomous too. Experts describe the venom as excruciatingly painful and it’s fair to say these little freaks will ruin your day if given half a chance. Just ask the 57-year-old bloke who copped two spur wounds to his right hand. He was in hospital for six days. The National Library of Medicine recorded that he suffered ‘significant functional impairment of the hand’ for three months.

Green Ants

Yeah, look, you probably know we have ants. Everyone’s got ants. But green ants can eat a dick. They don’t live out in the forest. They don’t build big, easily visible mounds, and they don’t discriminate between victims. They hang out in your backyard – or the local picnic spot – and they hide in the grass so that when you sit down they can sting the shit out of you. They. Are. Bastards. Trust me, I’ve never been bitten by a crocodile, but a few of these cantankerous little wankers have stung me – and they hurt like crazy. Just ask my missus. Last Christmas I thought a sniper had taken her out when she hit the floor screaming. Turns out a green ant had crawled up her leg and bloody well bitten her right on the arse-cheek. No wonder she went down like Neymar in the penalty box. If you think I’m joking, consider this. Because of anaphylaxis, their bite has killed people.Photo Credit Dubbo News/@erinrileyau


Yeah, they look kinda like a big fat staffy, but make no mistake; these big cuties are the kinda creatures that’d pick a fight with their own reflection if they thought it looked at them funny! Really. In a bizarre attack in 2016, a Canberra woman was innocently walking her dogs when she interrupted a wombat’s dinner. The wombat was munching on some grass when the lady and her dogs ‘startled’ it. Did the wombat bugger right off and run away? Did it think yeah-nah, I’m just a herbivore and there are more of them than there are of me? Not a chance. It thought, screw you lady. Screw you dogs. It charged. The woman fell to the ground and every time she tried to get back to her feet the wanker charged and bit her some more. Dead set! She needed stitches to three separate wounds and she’s not even the only one. In 2010 some bloke was taking a leak outside his caravan when FRIGGEN WOMBAT. The poor prick survived a bushfire but a wombat put him in hospital. The moral? Stay away from wombats! They’re not friendly!

The dread Magpie!

For most of the year, Australian magpies (a different species to everyone else’s) are amazing creatures: they have a beautiful warbling song, striking colour patterns, and frequently become au fait with human contact and hand-feeding. And then spring arrives. The weather here is pretty bloody bonza roundabout then and if you’re visiting, we’ve no doubt you’ll take a nice stroll along a typically beautiful stretch of this fine country. Of course, you’ll notice the signs that say WARNING! MAGPIE ATTACKS HAVE OCCURRED IN THE AREA. That’s because your magpies are wimps compared to ours, and in spring, these usually beautiful creatures become arseholes. They stare you down, wait for you to turn your back, and then dive-bomb the shit out of you. You’ll hear a rush of wings, you’ll wonder what in hell’s name is going on and then you’ll feel the crisp thwack of a magpie’s beak. How do you avoid it? Well, cyclists have taken to putting zip ties on their helmets, but if you value your life, your best bet is just to stay indoors. They have killed before.


In researching this, it turns out that even koalas will have a bloody go if they think they need to. Of course, they’re wild animals and we probably shouldn’t be so surprised, but as our Department of Environment and Heritage Protection says, “They have sharp teeth and claws capable of causing deep wounds.” Again, there’s evidence of this. One sheila got in between her dogs and a koala, only for it to thank her for the protection by latching onto her leg and leaving Photo Credit 7 News Adelaidewith a laceration that required twelve stitches. Of course, the more suspicious among you might be wondering if there’s some sort of cover-up here. You might be wondering if perhaps drop bears are real. For what it’s worth, I’m starting to think the same thing.

Coming to the end of our tour, all I can say is this: If you’re coming to Australia anytime soon, don’t think it’s only the usual suspects who are out for blood. Even some of our cute and cuddly critters are happy to give you a bit of a touch-up as well.

Don’t worry, though, there is some hope, and even if it’s not a sure bet, it can’t hurt you to see how December Foss, the heroine of my Sole Survivor books deals with hungry drop bears who try to feast on her flesh. Give those a read, arm yourself with a big stick, and most importantly, stay out from under the trees!

If you’ve enjoyed this article, you newest Australian creature feature, Sole Survivor II comes out on February 11. The sequel to Sole Survivor (go figure), it features an army of killer koalas and a desperate fight to survive their onslaught. They’re both part of Unnerving’s Rewind or Die line.

Horror DNA would like to thank Zachary for reminding us why Austrailia has the wildlife of nightmares. Make sure to buy his books by clicking on the links below, or hit him up here to see if he has any autographed copies left!

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