Sunday, February 5, 2012

Official Drop Bear Warning Poster

(click image to enlarge)

Unfortunately many people simply refuse to believe that Drop Bears exist, are out there an dangerous. Even Wikipedia calls Drop Bears "a ficticious Australian Marsupial"! However, don't be fulled by dis-information from "Drop Bear Deniers". The truth is out there! For more information about the Australian Drop Bear, visit the Australian Museum website. Here is an extract from the official drop bear information published by the Australian Museum:

The Drop Bear, Thylarctos plummetus, is a large, arboreal, predatory marsupial related to the Koala.


Around the size of a leopard or very large dog with coarse orange fur with some darker mottled patterning (as seen in most Koalas). It is a heavily built animal with powerful forearms for climbing and holding on to prey. It lacks canines, using broad powerful premolars as biting tools instead.

Size range

120kg, 130cm long, 90 cm at the shoulder.


Drop Bears can be found in the densely forested regions of the Great Dividing Range in South-eastern Australia. However there are also some reports of them from South-east South Australia, Mount Lofty Ranges and Kangaroo Island.


Closed canopy forest as well as open woodland on the margins of dense forest. Never encountered near roads or human habitation.

Behaviour and adaptations

Feeding and Diet

Examination of kill sites and scats suggest mainly medium to large species of mammal make a substantial proportion of the animal's diet. Often, prey such as macropods are larger than the Drop Bear itself.
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.
If the prey is small enough Drop Bears will haul it back up the tree to feed without harassment from other predators.

Feeding Habit


Mating and reproduction

Breeding occurs during summer and usually one baby, or joey, is produced each year. After six months in the pouch, the joey is gradually weaned from milk.

Era / Period

Quaternary Period

Living with us

Danger to humans and first aid

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.
There are some suggested folk remedies that are said to act as a repellent to Drop Bears, these include having forks in the hair or Vegemite or toothpaste spread behind the ears. There is no evidence to suggest that any such repellents work.



For those interested in examples of Drop Bear mis-information, here is the full text from Wikipedia on the Drop Bear:

A drop bear (or dropbear) is a fictitious Australian marsupial.[1] Drop bears are commonly said to be unusually large, vicious, carnivorous koalas that inhabit treetops and attack their prey by dropping onto their heads from above.[2] They are an example of local lore intended to frighten and confuse outsiders and amuse locals, similar to the jackalope, hoop snake, wild haggis, or snipe hunt.
It is often suggested that doing ridiculous things like having forks in the hair or Vegemite or toothpaste spread behind the ears will deter the creatures.[3]

In popular culture

  • Drop bears appear in the novel The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett. In the novel, the wizard Rincewind travels through the Australia-like continent of Fourecks, and is attacked by most of the creatures while travelling through the desert. Rincewind is wearing the traditional pointed wizard's hat, which serves to protect Rincewind's head from the stunning blow of the bear, and stun the bear itself. When the first bear's attack is unsuccessful, a massive cadre of dropbears begins to fall from the trees out of sheer astonishment. When hearing about this later, the locals insist that drop bears do not really exist.
  • Escape Velocity Nova, an Australian-designed 2002 computer game from Ambrosia Software, contains attacks from alleged drop bears in Auroran Empire space. These drop bears are actually young Auroran warriors in disguise. The game also features drop bear attacks and repellents. Purchase of the repellent, which cannot subsequently be discarded, dramatically increases the rate of drop bear attacks.
  • A Bundaberg Rum ad features Australian male campers using stories about drop bears to lure attractive female backpackers into moving their tents close to them. The blonde backpackers are incredulous until the Bundy Rum bear (a large talking polar bear often featured in the company's advertising) drops out of a tree near the edge of the lake, destroying one of the girls' tents.
  • In Warren Ellis's comic Nextwave, in the July 2006 # 5 issue, weaponized drop bears are deployed from an air-based military platform.[4]
  • Australian cartoonist Ian Dalkin had a popular cartoon strip 'Derek the Drop-Bear' which ran in the Sydney Sun, a defunct Sydney afternoon newspaper.[citation needed]
  • Drop bears are one of the many enemies described in the d20 Menace Manual.
  • The Australian Museum has a purportedly serious entry on drop bears in its catalogue of Australian fauna.[5]. However elsewhere the museum acknowledges that this entry is a joke.[6]
  •'s Xbox 360 Fancast podcast made Drop Bears a regular theme on their weekly podcast before it was cancelled. It rapidly became a meme between the hosts and their listeners.