Bunyips are dangerous aquatic predators that resemble a cross between a shark and a seal. Found in freshwater inlets or saltwater coves worldwide, bunyips hunt where prey is plentiful, often to the consternation of coastal residents and fisherfolk.
Despite their outlandish appearance and tendency to defend their territory with loud, bellowing roars that echo for great distances, bunyips are very rarely sighted by humanoids, leaving many to question their existence. For hundreds of years, bunyips were widely regarded as nothing more than folk tales, and even now that their existence as a species has been proven, the existence of any particular bunyip in a local area is often met with heavy skepticism. While their limited shapechanging abilities are no doubt a significant part of the reason for this air of mystery, another major factor is that the aquatic creatures rarely hunt humanoids, preferring to eat smaller animals. Most bunyips avoid human contact, except when one wanders too close to their den or favorite hunting spot, at which point the territorial bunyip attacks with swift and terrible ferocity. Many scholars agree that a large number of unexplained disappearances near coastal areas are the result of unreported bunyip aggression.
In some ports, bunyips have learned that delicious prizes can be had from the chum and garbage discarded by fishing boats and merchant vessels. They lurk close to the shore and carefully choose their victims, plucking them off docks and small boats. These bunyips are particularly careful to keep their true forms hidden, but this does little to dull rumors of monster-infested waters.