I am Australian, I have always lived in Austrlaia but this is the first time I have ever been this close to a wild koala and given water to a thirsty koala!
Normally koalas don't need to drink water to survive, they get enough of their water from eating gum leaves. However it has been known, during heat waves or bushfires, for koalas to accept help in actually drinking some water because of heat stress.
For the first time ever, my husband and I found a koala in heat distress, right near our house. The koala was sitting at the bottom of a gum tree, it would try to climb up the tree but then it would get too tired and slide down. So we decided to try to give it some water. It's never really a good sign if a wild koala lets you get close to it, they are usually very shy.
First we put a bucket of water near the koala but the koala didn't seem to know what to do. So next we got a water bottle to gently squirt some water into its mouth. This was much better, the koala understood and wanted to drink the water from the water bottle - even reaching out with its claw to get more. It was a bit tricky, its claws were huge and i was worried it would scratch me, but it didn't hurt at all. It was very rewarding to see the koala finally drink water.
So how do you speak English to a koala? Of course you call it 'mate' and use a soft, gentle voice - I suppose! You can hear me saying 'You alright mate?'
We went back a few times to give the koala more water and finally it felt good enough to climb back up the gum tree, thank goodness!
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