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It has come to my attention that I was, during the formative years of childhood, grotesquely misinformed about the size and danger of Australian wildlife. I’ve been in Victoria for a few months now, and I have not once, not once, been accosted by any sort of giant, venomous marsupial. To say I’m disappointed would be a tremendous understatement.

To my fellow Americans: If you have ever met an Australian and/or someone who has recently traveled to Australia, you probably said one of three things:

  1. That’s not a knife, THIS is a knife!
  2. Did u get a bloomin’ onion
  3. You are very brave. I am shocked you have not been eaten by some sort of animal horde.

I have not yet seen any Australian knives nor onions blooming, but I have seen a number of animals. Ever the optimist, I like to believe that someday we won’t be in a pandemic and will be able to travel again. At that juncture, perhaps you can visit Australia.

And with this handy guide, you will be able to seem like less of an absolute rock than I did when you get here.

Before we get into this, I’d like to remind you that it’s really hard to draw even, like, a dog from memory. But, despite the risk of great personal embarrassment, I stopped myself from looking at any reference photos of the following animals before attempting my initial artistic interpretations. As you peruse the following illustrations, please restrain yourself from thinking, “Good god, she thinks all animals are Pokemon,” and instead choose to think, “Wow, she is so brave.”

May it be an educational experience for us all.

KANGAROO

What I thought:

  • Omnivorous (eats leaves and small rodents)
  • 5-6 feet tall
  • Very muscular
  • DO NOT APPROACH. Will punch you

What it actually is:

  • Upright deer
  • Bouncy

 

Accuracy: 4/10

KOALA

What I thought:

  • 50 lbs

  • Size of very dense microwave

  • Regularly stoned

What it actually is:

  • Tree potato

 

Accuracy: 6/10

PLATYPUS

What I thought:

  • 4-5 feet long

  • Greenish

  • Humble and erudite; keeps to itself but keen for a board game if invited

What it actually is:

  • Alien creature that will not be compared to any other animal. Like, I was very wrong, but the correct answers are no more reasonable

Accuracy: 3/10 because my version was also cute

PENGUIN

What I thought:

  • Beautiful, tiny creature

  • Just wants you to be happy
  • Small and swimmy

What it actually is:

  • Exactly as presumed

Accuracy: 10/10. You are a zoologist.

ECHIDNA

What I thought:

  • Size of a loaf of bread

  • Long quills

  • Ability to shoot fire

  • Cyndaquil?

What it actually is:

  • For starters, not a Pokemon

Accuracy: 2/10

TASMANIAN DEVIL

What I thought:

  • I can conjure absolutely no picture but the Looney Tune. Unfortunately, I don’t really remember what the Looney Tune looks like

What it actually is:

  • Basically just a cat rodent

Accuracy: 3/10, got the ears sort of right

CASSOWARY

What I thought:

  • Able to run 40 miles per hour

  • Scythe-like talon hands and serrated beak

  • I am assuming that they can’t possibly be as terrifying as this. I’m about to go to their Wikipedia page and realize they, like, poop rainbows or something

What it actually is:

Accuracy: 6/10. Unfortunately.