Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Bursting the bubble of the koala myth...

Sure he looks cute,
but don't be fooled.
As an Australian, I'm used to the fact that our animals are ... shall we say unusual.  Kangaroos, wombats, platypus, we've got our fair share of freaky critters down under.  And don't even get me started on the spiders and snakes!

But there's one animal that I've noticed that overseas tourists all seem obsessed about, and I don't understand it at all.  Why, may I ask, is everyone so worked up about the koala?

I don't think I've met a single person who was visiting from overseas who didn't want to hold a koala.  There's a whole tourist industry based around it, where for an overpriced fee said tourist can go, have a koala shoved unceremoniously into their arms, and get their picture taken.  Seriously, people actually pay to hold one of those vicious little monsters!

... and he shows his true nature.
Everyone seems to think they're cute, fuzzy little teddy-bear like creatures that they can cuddle.  I'm sure most of them idly daydream about sneaking one into their luggage and taking it home with them thinking it'd make an awesome pet.  Kind of like one of those god awful little dogs ... but that's a rant for a different post.  But they couldn't be further from the truth.

The fact is, koalas are not nice animals.  Seriously, I've met more amiable rottweilers.  They scratch, they growl, they bite.  They stink to high heavens, something you don't realise until some underpaid koala sanctuary worker is apathetically shoving one into your waiting arms.  And the noises they make, you can't really imagine them until you've heard them.

Still don't believe me?  Think that they're sweet little things that couldn't possibly be as awful and vicious as I'm painting them to be.  Well watch this youtube video of some tourists who thought it would be a good idea to get close to a couple of wild koalas on a road.  Lets just say the koalas disabused them of that notion pretty quickly.

Just consider it a public service announcement.

You're welcome.


  1. Wow!!

    I'm not one to want to be around any of Australia's animals. I saw a documentary about one area that is infested with kangaroos running around their neighborhoods and others about the wild rabbits that keep multiplying. I think there used to be shows for kids in the US the depicted koalas as cute little cartoon characters and that image has stuck with many.

    Perhaps, we need to start showing more of the real thing rather than the imagined creature.

  2. One of the things that holds me back from really wanting to go to Australia is the thought of the spiders there haha. I'm terrified!

  3. My husband is dying to visit Australia for the crocodiles (which terrify me). And now you've provided another whole reason to avoid Oz. We're from Chicago. All we get are alley rats. And politicians.

  4. I'm really not a fan of the koala... but, please, for the love of all that is human, TELL ME WHAT YOU KNOW OF THE PLATYPUS!!!!

    I'm obsessed. In fact, Eddie is often scared. I even wrote a thesis on my love for them AND I DIDN'T EVEN FINISH COLLEGE!!!



  5. Wow; that koala indeed wasn't happy with that man! I didn't realize how sharp their teeth were! I think a lot of people here like them because we think they are cute and cuddly and most of them that we see are behind windows at zoos. Its kind of like the people that go to Yellowstone National Park where I used to live in Montana. They kind of forgot that the animals there were indeed wild animals; they weren't domesticated or trained. People would walk up to buffalo to get their pictures taken next to them (free range roaming buffalo, not in any type of enclosure) or put their kids on top of them for a picture. Several injuries occurred. Makes you wonder what people think :)

    I think Australia would be fun to visit, I just couldn't take the airplane ride for that long.....


  6. I still think they're cute ;-) Loved the way they sort of hop along lol. But to answer your question, I would blame the whole thing on TV.

  7. I am with Lady in Red. They are adorable. I would have attacked those jerks, too. That one man's laugh really got in my nerves.

  8. If they weren't so stoned from all the eucalyptus leaves then they would more dangerous than drop bears

  9. Saw your post on Attracted to Shiny things, decided to check you out.
    Happy Thursday... Or is it Friday there??