Are Koalas the Ultimate Pacifists?

This morning I’ve had a horrible experience. We live in a bushy environment on a very large suburban block without houses right beside us. For days we’ve had a Koala sitting in trees in our yard, last night he was lying back against a branch, legs outstretched like an old man in his favourite armchair. About half an hour ago my dogs were going ballistic and when I went out the neighbours’ dog had the Koala and was intent on killing it. The koala had come down from the tree and gone over the 6’ high fence into the dog’s yard. Eventually I managed to get the neighbour’s attention and he was able to get the dog away from the Koala.

What I just don’t understand is WHY Koalas don’t recognise danger and WHY they don’t use their claws to protect themselves. I can accept that fear of people and all the threats associated with them is just not inherent in Koalas but other creatures manage to learn over generations. Here in Australia In a relatively short time Crows have learned to flip over introduced Cane Toads so that they can eat them without ingesting the poison which lies in a gland on their backs. WHY haven’t Koalas learned in all the years since people came to this land that barking dogs represent a threat and WHY haven’t they learned to use their long, strong, sharp claws????

A Koala looking so laidback.

A Koala looking so laidback.

7 thoughts on “Are Koalas the Ultimate Pacifists?

  1. Hey, we had a koala come into our house, and I tell you now, he was quite agressive. Growling, hissing and exposing his large talons. Maybe it’s not that the Koala can’t detect a threat but they ARE the threat.. or their too high on eucalyptus leaves to care.. One more thing.. Koala’s like to have relations, of the intimate kind, outside my window.. It doesn’t sound very ‘pacifistic’ to me..

    • Did the Koala looked as though he would scratch you? I heard this one grunt today but it made no attempt to use its claws when I’m sure it could have ripped the dog’s face open. We heard a hideous noise one night, thought a Koala was being murdered but when we found out where it was the female was doing the screaming and chasing the male up a tree!

  2. I have found two koalas on separate occasions on the road. One stood there and wouldn’t move off the road but allowed me to pat it and hold it’s hand without any sort of aggression. The next one moved off the road but not far enough out of harms way and let me pick it up and move it to higher ground. It did growl a bit but showed absolutely no signs if biting or scratching. When I put it down it just sat there so I patted it and it scratched behind its ear like a dog enjoying it’s pat. The most beautiful and passive animals ever. I think their growling noise makes them sound agressive but I have never heard of anyone evere being attacked by one.

    • Thanks for commenting. I agree with you, the most “aggressive” thing I’ve seen from a Koala was a female pursuing a male up a tree and she was the one screaming! Someone did comment about them being nasty if cornered, hissing and scratching but I think the writer confused a Koala with a Possum. I have “shaken hands” with one while it just sat in a tree looking bemused, I don’t know what other “wild animals” would allow that. 🙂

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