Koalas may one of the cuddliest looking animals on the planet, but because they sleep up to 20 hours a day, it’s difficult to see them active in the wild.
But Kathy Sundstrom of Queensland, Australia had an up close and personal encounter with an unusually energetic marsupial while vacationing at Cape Otway with her family.
"Being mistaken by a koala for a tree at Cape Otway," Sundstrom posted to her Facebook page along with a video of the small gray mammal hopping between members of her family before finally attempting to crawl up her leg.
"It was crossing the road and we and several others stopped to let it cross and then it wanted to climb us."
Sundstrom told the Sunshine Coast Daily that she had already seen a mother koala and her baby at her camp site in Cape Otway National Park's Blanket Bay. But the close encounter with the koala was a remarkable site.
She said, “travelling out of Cape Otway that we had one of the experiences of a lifetime! We saw something crossing around ahead of us, by its size and speed, we first thought it was a dog.”
Upon closer inspection the family realized it was a koala simply crossing the road. They got out to take photos, assuming it would scamper to the closest tree but were surprised when it came closer to the group.
"Instead of scurrying up the nearest tree, this little fella wanted to meet the human,” said Sundstrom.
Though she was happy to have such an intimate experience with nature, the mother says she was trying to keep her children from touching the koala as she took the video. And while getting climbed by a koala might look cute, Sundstrom says their claws are surprisingly sharp.
“The good news is, it didn't eventually find a tree and climbed safely, while giving all of us a chance to admire it's awesome cuteness!”