‘It will haunt your dreams’: The Aussie creature that terrifies Tom Hanks

Jan 12, 2021
Hanks was recently in Australia to work on Baz Luhrmann's upcoming Elvis Presley biopic. Source: Getty

Actor Tom Hanks has spent a fair amount of time Down Under in the past few years and – like any tourist to Australia – he’s no doubt heard of the many dangerous animals that call this country home. From sharks to snakes and spiders the size of plates, there’s plenty to terrify anyone who lands on our shores.

But it seems there’s another unlikely creature that has terrified him and haunted his nightmares since staying in Oz. Speaking on A Late Show recently, the 64-year-old said there’s a small critter found on beaches in this beautiful country that scare him the most.

“What’s the scariest animal Tom?” television host Stephen Colbert asked The Da Vinci Code star. To which Hanks replied, “That would be a type of worm that lives in the sand on the beaches on Australia. I’ll send you a picture, it will haunt your dreams. They’re these things and they come up and they have these heads that – if you look at them close – honestly look like something the Mandalorian has to flee from out of the Tatooine.”

In Australia, there are three kinds of beach worms that are usually found near the water along the eastern and south-eastern coast. According to the Australian Museum they can grow up to 300cm long, have hundreds of body segments and many short tentacles near their head. But, they’re completely harmless and are generally used as bait by fishermen.

The last time Hanks was in Australia, he was working on Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming Elvis Presley biopic, in which he is set to play the Love Me Tender crooner’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker. This was following another visit early last year, which was cut short when he contracted Covid-19.

Speaking about the virus and how it affected him, Hanks said the main symptoms he experienced were “body aches” and feeling very fatigued. “I just tried to do basic stretches and exercises on the floor and I couldn’t even get halfway through,” he told The National Defense Radio Show in the US.

However, the veteran actor revealed he got off lightly compared with his wife of more than 30 years, singer and actress Rita Wilson, who also fell ill with coronavirus on the Gold Coast, having flown to Australia to spend time with her husband and perform a string of solo gigs.

“She was so nauseous, she had to crawl on the floor from the bed to the facilities. It lasted a while,” he said. “Rita went through a tougher time than I did. She had a much higher fever and she had some other symptoms. She lost her sense of taste and smell. She got absolutely no joy from food for a better part of three weeks.”

Become a Starts at 60 Member now.

Starts at 60 Members get a whole lot more value here. It’s free to join and you’ll get:

  • Exclusive emailers with the latest news and leading insights from retirement experts
  • Free online Retirement Masterclasses and other events
  • Amazing deals on tours, cruises, and community holidays from Travel at 60
  • And *new* an ecommerce marketplace just for over 60s with exclusive member offers

What are you waiting for?


Have you ever seen a beach worm? Do you think they are as scary as Tom Hanks claims?

Please sign in to post a comment.
Retrieving conversation…
Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up