When it comes to animal cuteness, fluffiness and whatnot, koalas are easily at the top of the heap. Have you ever wondered how they sound like though? Or maybe they don’t make sounds at all, like a plush toy? I always thought they were just these fluffy, cuddly little slobs, chilling on gumtrees anyway.
If you’re thinking they sound as cute as they look, well I hate to break it to you but this is how a koala sounds like, a male koala at least. I wish I had the chance to record it myself so credits to the owner of this video.
Now picture this.
It’s our first night at camp. It’s Friday the 13th. I’m not superstitious but we did joke about Jason and Freddie over dinner.
Now we are in bed. In a tent. Just a tent.
There are other campers nearby but it’s about 1:00am and if not for the gushing winds and splashing waves, the whole place would have been dead silent.
My wife and my daughter are fast asleep. I’m struggling to doze off being the insomniac that I am.
Then I hear a grunting sound — yes that koala sound above. And like I said, I had no idea how a koala sounds like, nor was I aware that there are koala’s around.
I was wondering if it was a wombat, we had wombats at camp before, but I don’t know how wombats sound either.
I let it pass. I’m cool.
A few minutes later I heard footsteps. Whether it was walking or crawling, I wasn’t really sure, but it was moving — I can hear twigs breaking, leaves rustling.
It was slow and steady, like it was sneaking, creeping, stalking. And it was just right outside our tent.
My heart’s beating a little faster now.
Then the walking stopped. So again I relaxed and tried to get some sleep. I eat horror movies for breakfast, this is nothing.
A few minutes later I heard that grunting noise again. It was loud enough to wake the missus up.
She whispers, “Did you hear that?”
“Yeah.” I replied.
“I can’t sleep I’m scared,” she said.
Then we heard the footsteps again. At this point I was starting to freak out a little bit.
This is the time where the adrenaline starts to kick in. My mind, racing — I should have brought a baseball bat, or a golf club (not that I have one), or a knife. Wait, we do have a knife.
“Kaye, where’s the knife?” I asked.
“Are you serious? It’s in the car though,” she replied.
Okay, hand-to-hand combat then. I watch UFC mate, I got this. I don’t care if you’re a werewolf or a red kangaroo on steroids, I’ll Khabib the life out of you (deep down I was praying, please don’t be a giant spider).
This is it.
I took a deep breath.
I put my head lamp on.
Stepped outside and looked around for whoever/whatever it was.
The sound was coming from above so I quickly looked up behind me.
And there’s the cheeky little fluff, munching on gumtree leaves.
I was like, “Kaye you won’t believe this, come here.”
And we ended up taking photos. I have never felt so relieved.
Moral of the Story
There’s no moral, I just can’t think of a heading. 😀
All jokes aside, the adrenaline rush, the sense of danger, those primal instincts kicking in were very real. Imagine you’re about to wet your pants but you go out there anyway. I had no choice, I had to know what or who it was. Turns out those horror movie scenes where people actually go out in the dark to check things out isn’t so far-fetched after all. 😀
And one more thing, this little guy made our camping trip a little more special. You see, koalas have been ravaged by wildfires just about a year ago. Their numbers have significantly declined. You can call yourself lucky to find one in the wild, but having one that actually lives right above your head, on a random camping spot, is a whole different experience. I’m a little emotional now — but maybe it’s just the alcohol.
A Fond Farewell
Anyway, on our last day, as we were packing up, I was bringing the tent down, I heard a familiar sound. I quickly looked in the bush and there it was, slowly crawling on the ground, then climbing back up to the same spot I first saw it. Boy was I glad to see it again. We’ll take that as a fond farewell.
And oh, maybe there is a moral to this story — get out there, engage more with nature and don’t be a baby. At the end of it all, I thought we should go camping more often. Random little things like this are priceless.