February 2006

Cool koala!

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Cool koala!

The Sunday Mail, 5 February 2006

News source: The Sunday Mail, 5 February 2006
By Jessica Lawrence

HOW much heat can a koala bear?

As the country swelters through a scorching summer, this was one marsupial willing to make a splash.

Dubbed Chewy, he spent about an hour lounging in a suburban family pool under the watchful eye of the Lamond family.

The normally land-loving critter couldn't wait to join mum Julie Lamond and kids Matthew, 12, and Chelsea, 7, as they took a dip in the chlorinated pool at their Adelaide home.

First he climbed from the safety of his gum tree perch to play in the sprinkler.

But not satisfied with playing on the grass, he then jumped into the pool to perform a few laps of "koala paddle".

"It was after three days of 40C heat," Ms Lamond said.

"We put down a container of water for him which he drank out of for about a minute, but then he wandered over to the pool and went for a swim.

"He wasn't the best swimmer, but he did do a bit of what looked like dog paddle.

"We were a bit worried when he jumped in, but he swam back to the edge and sat in the pool for an hour."

Australia Zoo keeper Richard Jackson said koalas in the wild would "swim when they had to".

He said: "They are not the most graceful swimmers and not that huge on it, but if they have to get away from predators, fire, get to food or cross a stream they will go for a dip. This koala was obviously trying to get cool."