Koalas might have claws, but they are mostly just used for climbing, and overall, the creatures are gentle beings. However, a reporter for the UK's ITV News Asia who was visiting Australia didn't really know everything about the animal and because of that, she was epically pranked on live TV.
Debi Edward was convinced that the creature she was about to hold might look like a koala but it was actually a vicious cousin to it known as a "drop bear." She was told to wear full body armor to protect her from the fearsome beast. Australian video producer Sean Mulcahy uploaded video of the entire prank unfolding to Facebook.
In it, the reporter meets with veterinarian Dr. Garnett Hall at Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park. He describes the animal to Debi, saying that "drop bears" are bigger than koalas and have longer claws. He states, "They've actually got really small fangs, and the interesting thing about the fans is they have a really mild venom. It's not like a snake venom that can make you really sick, it just causes a lot of really local irritation," adding, "The third most common injury that we see in tourists in Australia is actually from drop bear attack."
As Debi is given a koala, she's warned about the danger involved and is clearly petrified. During her report, she reveals, "I'm trying not to be worried, because I've been told that he can sense if I'm worried." She gives in to her fear though after hearing a park worker say they are getting a dart gun, and pleads that someone removes the animal from her. Then she realizes she's been had.
She's not the only person to fall for the prank. It's actually a classic Australian joke that locals are in on often used to scare unsuspecting foreigners.
Debi was later interviewed about the experience, saying, "There were several points, looking back, obviously, where I thought, 'That's maybe not quite right.'"
Edward had a great way of looking at it though, pointing out that it was the first time she'd seen the crew at the wildlife park laugh all day. They've been dealing with the aftermath of the tragic fires burning in the country.
In his Facebook post, Mulcahy wrote, "If you enjoyed this video, please don't let Debi's humiliation be in vain. Please donate directly to help the park who are treating these koalas. In times of tragedy and incessant misery, sometimes humour is the best medicine."
You can donate here.