All I Want For Christmas: Whole Skinned Frogs, Dried Pigs’ Ears And A Whole Shark In A Glass Jar

Confiscated at the Sydney Airport / Chris Pash, Business Insider Australia

Amazing what some people think is a good Christmas present.

All the items in the headline above — skinned frogs, pigs’ ears, a shark — have been picked up coming into Australia at Christmas time.

And all of them are on the banned list. They put Australia’s pristine, clean environment in danger of diseases, fungus rot and plagues.

As soon as biosecurity officers at Australia’s airports and mail centres think they’ve seen it all, something more unusual comes along.

“From my perspective the most disgusting thing I was shown was a llama fetus which came through the mail centre,” says Rona Mellor, the head of biosecurity in Australia.

“I understand it was purchased by someone online on the understanding that if they buried it under their house it would bring them good luck.”

Less dramatic items such as a Christmas Wreath for the front door could be carrying several different types of fungus and unwanted seeds.

More than 21 million people will come through Australia’s international airports over the December and January holiday period.

At this time of the year the federal Department of Agriculture pulls up about 43,000 items which shouldn’t be brought into the country.

Business Insider went to Sydney Airport to watch biosecurity officers at work with their sniffer dogs (Australia has 75 dogs trained to find food is passenger baggage). Here’s what they found:

Any meat products, dried or fresh should be left overseas
A claw from an American Bald Eagle
Pine cones as decorations can be carrying a fungus which will destroy native Australian trees
A child’s doll made of dried citrus skin could have a fungus which will attack Australian trees
Banned: Deer horns from China or Asia

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