Man-eating boar, eagle attack: 9 crazy Gympie animal yarns
SINCE the days of "LOLCats", "Doge", "Grumpy Cat" and "Phteven", the crazy predicaments animals routinely find themselves in have been at the centrepiece of the worldwide memeverse.
Nowadays you're unlikely to scroll through your Facebook feed without seeing a viral video of dogs finding creative ways to steal their owner's dinner, or cats leaping for the skies after mistaking cucumbers for snakes.
Even before the age of social media truly arrived, funny animal videos formed the backbone of shows like Australia's Funniest Home Videos.
The Gympie region has never been short of its own quirky animal stories, whether they're funny or even a little scary, so we've thrown together a list of the most memorable ones from recent years.
Here's a snapshot:
1. Gympie schoolboy runs for his life from angry boar, June 2018
WHEN Neil Macalisang set off for school from his Anderleigh home one Tuesday morning last year, he had no idea of the terrifying ordeal he was about to face.
Just weeks after the premiere of Chris Sun's Mary Valley-filmed horror flick Boar, the 12-year-old St Patrick's College student hid in his neighbours' car to escape a rampaging wild pig, which twice stalked him as he waited for his school bus.
"I was waiting for my bus and I was wondering if the pig was gone ... but it was still looking for me, and then I saw the head, the head was coming up, so I started to run because the pig saw me," Neil said.
"I ran back to our neighbour and called for help again, and they ... let me in and looked after me until the pig was gone.
"It was scary. I thought I was going to die."
Neil's mother Milaflor found the same pig stalking their back veranda later that afternoon and called in the help of her boss, John Dickfos of Jesanhai Ginger.
Mr Dickfos shot the pig, later remarking that Neil was "lucky" not to end up lunch for the 90kg beast.
"He's got a story to tell," Mr Dickfos said of Neil.
A story to tell indeed, and what a remarkable one it was.
2. Man punches eagle in surprise attack, February 2016
A MORNING on the farm soon resembled something like a Twilight Zone episode for 79-year-old Widgee farmer Graham Shooter.
Mr Shooter had just stepped outside after putting the kettle on when a massive wedge-tailed eagle struck his chest with an almighty slam.
"I almost had a heart attack," Mr Shooter said, but that didn't stop the boxing instructor's son from punching the eagle in retaliation.
Reflecting on the bizarre attack, he said the eagle may have been seeking retribution for a missed meal days earlier in the form of his Jack Russell, Trixie.
"I don't know the mind of an eagle," he said.
"I think he might have been a bit dirty on me after missing the dog."
3. Mum and unborn baby survive horse kick, May 2016
31-year-old Corella farmer Michelle Ross, who was 39 weeks pregnant when moving her horses between paddocks in May 2016, was struck by "one of the bigger ones".
"One of the horses, as I was leading them through a gateway, decided to kick out at another horse, but I happened to be standing there," Ms Ross said.
Ms Ross' husband saw the kick land in the side of her stomach, and immediately dialled triple zero.
The next night and day saw a flurry of tests, checks and nerves, but both the placenta and baby appeared blissfully unharmed.
4. Runaway cow leads police on highway chase, February 2019
AN ESCAPED steer led police on a half-hour chase through Gympie streets and on to the Bruce Highway after escaping from a truck parked near the police station.
The great escape, starting at 6pm, saw the confused cow take off down Nash Street - where it was photographed running past The Gympie Times offices.
It ran back up Nash Street, turned left into Channon St, crossed the Duke St intersection and eventually found itself on the highway, making it through miraculously unharmed.
The culprit was eventually apprehended at Albert Park.
5. Killer hawk tries to eat Kybong chook, nearly sets fire to house, July 2018
A KYBONG resident's burning steak dinner caused smoke to engulf her house while she tried to rescue her pet chook from a hungry hawk.
Emergency service crews were called to the Old Bruce Highway address after initial reports indicated the house was full of smoke and possibly in flames, but quickly had the situation under control when they discovered the burning steak on a stove.
6. Theebine student follows jockey dream on board pet cows, February 2018
RIDING horses was never an option for Meagan Neumann, so she had to make do with cows.
Growing up on her parents' dairy farm near Theebine, Meagan was about 6 or 7 when her hobby of chasing calves around their pens led to discovering that they didn't mind jumping over obstacles.
And Meagan wasn't about to hang up the saddle, revealing designs on taking her hobby to shows for performances in future years.
7. Panther or cat? Gympie truckie mauled in feral cat attack, June 2018
IT WAS far from the relaxing 10 minutes a Kybong man was seeking late Saturday night when he slipped on to the veranda for a smoke.
Seconds after moving to let his pet cat Billy inside, Adam Whitehouse was shocked to see a monstrous cat emerge, pure black with sleek, shiny fur and as big as a small cattle dog.
"It was the biggest cat I've ever seen," Mr Whitehouse said.
"The size dumbfounded me."
He then endured a harrowing fight with the panther-like adversary, feeling a searing pain in his calf as it lunged at him.
"It grabbed the back of my calf muscle on my leg and it wouldn't let go," he said.
"I grabbed its tail and and started punching it to get it off me and it latched on to my arms.
"It just hung on - it was not going to let go.
"It was like I was hitting a concrete bag or a punching bag it was so solid and muscly."
Mr Whitehouse compared the "beautiful looking cat" to a black panther, giving rise to consistent rumours and big cat sightings around the Gympie region.
8. Bobby the dog reunited with owner after going missing for four years, April 2018
BOBBY the Maltese Shih Tzu-cross has been everywhere, man.
Cooloola Dairy Farmer Dick Schroder successfully reunited the 8-year-old dog with its owner four years after it first went missing.
He took the stray home with him after their paths crossed at a rest stop in Marmor, some 306 kilometres away from Bobby's home in Emerald.
Original owner Vicki Mason was shocked to find out Bobby had turned up at Mr Schroder's Gilldora farm, making for an emotional reunion.
9. Boris the piglet survives Woolooga bushfires, September 2018
THE Woolooga community were looking for silver linings after bushfires tore through the community late last year, and they found one in a piglet named Boris.
When the inferno tore through their 10-acre Cahill Rd hobby farm and damaged their pig pen, the Blake family were forced to wait and hope their runaway eight-week-old piglets Boris and Bacon would return.
Tragically Bacon "didn't make the road crossing" and got hit by a car, but Ashley, Linda and their triplets Phoenix, Tywin and Indica were amazed to discover Boris back on their neighbours' property after a "big adventure".
If you can think of a cracking animal yarn we've missed, or have a funny story of your own, feel free to share by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.