Gunni - "Goon-eye" - (Latin: Turpis Maiatis cimex) - [Fearsome Critter, Australia.]
• About this critter: Gunni are shy, secretive Marsupials, from the land down under, Australia! - Despite being quite wombat-like in appearance, allegedly they're more closely related to Tazmanian Devils. - They are small Omnivorous creatures with antlers, striped rear ends, bushy fox-like tails and sharp front teeth (sharp enough to cut through leather!) - According to legend, they enjoy the taste of raw tobacco and salted meat. The creatures are of a sturdy constitution, as they are said to be able to survive a direct TNT blast!! They seem to thrive in small numbers, so The possibility remains that a few individuals are still alive, hidden away in deep mountain valleys...
• History: A taxidermy of a Gunni was once on display in the Marysville Visitors Information Centre and was made by a ranger under the name of “Miles Stewart-Howie” & put on display sometime prior to 2003. Sadly, the display (along with the entire centre & town) where tragically destroyed in the February 2009 Victorian bushfires. - [A number of decent photos of the taxidermy and exhibit prior to this can also be found here on flickr.]
[The sign explaining the expansive, detailed & rich history of the Gunni.] - According to the accompanying sign (Which thankfully was archived in HD here, Sept 2004]) - The Gunni on display was said to have been found near Marysville, Victoria, Australia in 1967 by timber workers near Cambarville and was donated to the museum "after several years of negotiation between local Parks staff and the Melbourne Mammal Museum, which resulted in the loan of the 'Cambarville Gunni' to Mystic Mountains Tourism for public display.'" - the dubious sign would also have you believe that the creature had a 10,000 year history, despite only 3 ever being discovered!
[a photograph, (likely of Miles Stewart Howie?) and his creation.]
in 2003, a number of magazines, & online articles claimed that the critter was 'snuck into the centre by pranksters' - (Although the Gunni having an official page on the marysville tourism website seems to suggest otherwise.)- The Gunni had become quite a talking point at the time (and with certain cryptid enthusiasts today), meaning that its done its job at the tourism centre quite well. (hoax or not.)
(Notably, the same symbol was also on the old tourism website.) - An old German travel blog, mentions the following about the gunnie X-ing signs: “Around Marysville, some pranksters have slightly altered the usual Australian warning signs showing a wombat. With a few strokes, the wombat became an gunni and sometimes it even has a red nose. (Winters can be pretty cold there afterall "
One less talked about fact is that the Gunni, the legend and the accompanying sign were also used in a 2009 cookbook, where-in $10 from each purchase of said book went to help rebuild the community! - Which in my opinion says a lot about the creatures local cultural impact!!! (Regardless of how many books may or may not have sold.)
• Today: The resilient Marysville community has since rebuilt! The Gunni is fittingly used as a mascot for a still active Australian brewing company "the horny Wombat" - sadly, that seems to be the most prominent modern day use or mention of the gunni (that I can find online at least.) - there also does not seem to be any current plans to replace the Gunni or the exhibit. (which is a bit of a shame, the critter certainly suits the sturdy community and could serve very well as something like a mascot?) - [...That said, I've reached out to the tourism center for more info, and am currently waiting for a response 🤞]
• Similar critters: All of that in mind, the gunni Is essentially an Australian cousin to the American Jackalope, the Dingbat and other similar "Rogue taxidermied critters." -- it seems, no matter where you are in the world, taxidermists adore sticking antlers on creatures that usually don’t have em!
Sticker art by @Samkalensky part of my fearsome critters collection of stickers! check my shop and follow for many more.