We were walking back from school this afternoon, about to reach our driveway, when we saw a koala bear casually walking up the garden path, strolling towards our gum tree. We froze on the spot, in surprise. I mean, we do live in the country, but our house is in the centre of town, in a proper street and on the corner of a main road. Hardly a bush existence!
I have only ever seen koalas in wildlife parks before, high up in the trees and stoned on gum leaves, so it was pretty amazing to see one so close-up and actually moving. He hopped up the tree and tried out several positions, munching on leaves, before settling himself on a tiny branch right at the top, where he has been for a few hours now. I tried to take some photos of his ascent but it wasn't easy. It's incredible how this big-bottomed creature can snooze on such a delicate branch without falling off! And to think, if we had arrived thirty seconds later we would probably never have even known he was there. Maybe he's a regular visitor?
My youngest son was especially excited. From about age two, when we came to live in Australia, he has had an imaginary koala friend called Koko Koala - he makes up all kinds of stories about him. Just yesterday, when he 'slept in' till nearly 8 am (very late for him) he told me it was because Koko was visiting. So to have a real koala visit was just the bees knees for him!
Stop Press: I just went out to peep again and he has woken up and climbed down the tree a little. We had a good gawp at each other! Here he is...
We rang the wildlife rescue hotline to see if we should do anything to help the koala, but apparently there is nothing to be done - if he were to be rescued and taken back to a safe place he would probably just come back again, as koalas are very stubborn. The wildlife guy said that he has never heard of a koala in our town before, so it's very strange. I hope he will be ok.