Woman Learns Koalas Have 'Big Teeth' the Hard Way

Mary Anne Forster needed 12 stitches after attack but doesn't blame the animal
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2014 1:24 AM CST
Koala Savages Woman Walking Dogs
They're cute, but keep your distance, experts say.   (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

It wasn't the koala's fault, says an Australian woman who was savaged by one of the planet's cutest and most cuddly-appearing creatures. According to 7News Adelaide, Mary Anne Forster was walking her two dogs a couple of weeks ago when they dragged her toward a koala at the bottom of a tree; she got caught in the middle when the koala attacked the dogs. "Obviously the koala felt very threatened because it attached itself with its mouth, jaws, to my leg and bit very hard, bit very deeply," she says.

Forster, who had to put her fingers in the koala's mouth to make it let go, needed 12 stitches and spent four days in the hospital after the attack. The bite "became very infected, it was very swollen and painful," she says. The koala had good reason to feel threatened, Mashable reports: Australian authorities estimate that 110 koalas are killed in dog attacks every year, and an environmental department spokesperson warns that people who see them in the wild should "just leave them alone—certainly don't let dogs go near them because they will fight back, they've got big claws and big teeth." (Scientists using thermal cameras have discovered why koalas hug trees.)

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