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Cute And Cuddly? Think Again. Koala Terrifies Aussie Farmer

You thought koalas were cute and cuddly, right?

Well, you should ask Ebony Churchill, an Australian dairy farmer, about that.

Churchill uploaded a video on Facebook over the weekend that shows a big koala chasing after her.

"They've got hard, sharp claws, and I didn't want to have him grabbing at my leg as I was on the bike," she told her local paper, The Advertiser.

At one point, after she can't go any farther on the four-wheeler, she ditches the vehicle and sees the Koala hugging one of the tires.

"He sat on the tire for a while and I didn't want to upset him," she told the paper. "I started herding the cows on foot and when I looked back, he had got off the bike and was walking away."

Of course, this is not normal koala behavior. They would normally run from people.

Mashable spoke to Deakin University wildlife and conservation biologist Desley Whisson. It reports:

"[She] believed the koala might have been confusing the sound of the bike with that of a koala mate. 'Male koalas frequently bellow in response to airplanes, tractors, chain saws, etc.,' Whisson said. 'It may be that they confuse these noises as bellows by other koalas. We're at the beginning of the breeding season so perhaps heightened testosterone levels may be responsible.'"

This reminds us of two previous stories recounted on this blog.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.