A Victorian man has videoed the moment he made friends with a wild koala by brushing prickly burrs out of its fur.
Apollo Bay resident Bruce Atkinson said he noticed the female koala outside his house on Saturday morning.
“I was just wandering out to have some breakfast early in the morning and I saw a koala on the porch,” he told the ABC’s Nicole Chvastek.
“It wandered up, which is not unusual … but this one looked a bit distraught, it was just sitting there all glum.
“I went out to take a photo of it and noticed all these burrs all over it.”
Koala allowed itself to be brushed, tickled like a pet
Mr Atkinson’s first attempt at helping the agitated koala was less than successful.
“I grabbed a bowl of water and put it near it and it immediately got swatted out of my hand,” Mr Atkinson said, adding he was later told that koalas get most of their water from gum leaves.
Deciding that the koala was uncomfortable due to the burrs, Mr Atkinson went back inside, put on a motorbike glove and grabbed a hair brush.
He carefully approached the koala and let it sniff at the hair brush before attempting to brush the prickles out.
“I just gently poked the brush at some of the burrs,” he said.
“Within seconds it decided, ‘this is alright, I’ll have more of this’.”
Mr Atkinson said he was amazed at how benign the previously aggressive koala became once it was having its fur brushed.
“The whole half an hour it just sat there and lapped it up.”
He said he was able to remove most of the burrs and then collected some gum leaves for the koala, which hung around his house for the rest of the day.
“I could also just go up to it, sit down beside it, tickle it under its chin and pat it on its head like a cat.”
Mr Atkinson posted a video of the koala having its fur brushed to the Otway Community News Facebook page, prompting dozens of positive comments.
“Poor little fella, he must have been so uncomfortable. What a trusting koala, I think you have a friend for life,” one commenter wrote.
“Such a feel-good story … thank you Bruce. I bet now she will impress all of her male mates with her new hairdo,” wrote another.
But Mr Atkinson said impressing the opposite sex might have been the farthest thing from the koala’s mind.
“One of the wildlife officers suggested she was just getting away from the boys, because they get a bit frisky at this time of year.”
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
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