In every state in Australia with the exception of Queensland, it’s illegal to hold a koala. The main rationale behind this is that although koalas appear to be cuddly and cute, little does the average person know that these marsupials have quite sharp claws that could easily be used to claw our eyes out if we do not handle them properly. They weren’t really made to be held by human beings. I was pretty disappointed by this when I visited Taronga Zoo in Sydney two years ago and found out that I couldn’t hold one, but if I wanted to shell out $25 AUD, I could just pose in a picture with one perched on a branch. I passed.
Since we were in Queensland and I’d read about the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, I figured this was my chance to finally hold one. I was wearing the wrong clothing today, though, and was in a sleeveless dress. I wasn’t even thinking about my clothes when queuing up to hold the koala. As soon as the koala latched onto me, its claws dug into my shoulder for grip, and I realized how crazy and clingy (in a bad way) these guys could be. I pet my koala for a few seconds, and my image of koalas being incredibly soft quickly died, as his fur was far more bushy than I’d envisioned.
I will keep admiring them from afar, but my fantasy with holding a koala has now been fulfilled. I suppose this is the touristy excitement for a visitor to Australia in the same way Bubba Gump’s could be for someone visiting the U.S.