His stomach had to growl.
A hungry koala bear repeatedly snuck onto a farm in Australia to eat a total of $6,000 worth of seedlings specially bred for his species – and was only caught one night when he eventually overate and became too full to climb away.
“I noticed that some of my seedlings were being chewed off and I thought it was probably a possum,” said Humphrey Herington of Gundurimba Nursery in New South Wales abc.net.au.
“Every night a few more and a few more came [missing].”
He soon caught the cuddly crook, nicknamed Claude for his sharp claws, in a feeding coma after one of his parties earlier in the summer, he said.
“We came into work one morning and Claude was sitting on a bench next to all these plants, just wrapped around a pole,” Herington said. “It seems like he got a lot of food that night, so I think he was too fed to climb his tree.”
A worker at the farm snapped a photo of the prolific plant thief looking guiltily near a seedling bed earmarked for a “landcare group” that manages green spaces that help koalas thrive, he said. The animals were listed as endangered in the country in February 2022.
“I wrapped a towel around him, carried it to my neighbor’s paddock 200 or 300 yards from the nursery and had him run up a tree,” Herington said. “But a few days later he was back.”
The farmer has since built a koala-proof fence to permanently keep the mischievous marsupial out.
“It’s basically just a netting fence with star posts and a wobbly spike on top. So if he tries to climb the fence, he’ll swing back out and hopefully stay out,” Herington said.
It’s the first time a koala has eaten his crop in two decades, he said.