Meaning of Australian words and idioms drop bear

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A jocular name for an imaginary animal similar in appearance to a koala, with very sharp jaws and teeth, that is said to devour tourists, etc. after dropping down on them from trees. The term is often associated with the fooling of gullible international tourists and has accordingly been used this way in television advertisements. There are suggestions that the term drop bear emerged in the Second World War period (see 1982 quotation below) but the first record is from the 1980s.

1982 N. Keesing Lily on a Dustbin: The 'drop bears' are creatures of a tall story - they were invented during World War II for the benefit of gullible American servicemen. It is alleged that 'drop bears' are a dangerous kind of koala and that they drop out of trees on the heads and shoulders of bushwalkers and hug them to death.

2014 Townsville Bulletin

7 November:

Participants are advised to choose their start time carefully to ensure they are finished before it gets dark and the drop bears come out at 6.30 pm



  • Ivars


    1:53 AM, 10-02-2022

    Wow, I didn't know they are so aggressive.

    0 Reply

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