Driver forced to pull over after witnessing violent street ‘brawl’

A woman has shared the confronting moment she was forced to stop her car to avoid hitting two koalas engaged in a dramatic street fight.

Gemma Fae Russell speaking to camera (left) and Two koalas fighting on a road in stills from a TikTok video (right).
The koalas were locked in a violent brawl in the middle of a Queensland road, leaving Gemma forced to pull over. Source: TikTok

Dramatic footage of two koalas locked in a vicious fight in the middle of a road has raised questions over whether mating season has arrived early due to an unusually warm winter. The video was snapped by Queensland writer and artist Gemma Fae Russell who was forced to stop her car in front of the pair as they battled it out on the road.

“Only in Australia does your trip home from Woolies get disrupted by a couple of brawling koalas,” she captioned a video which shows the native animals wrestling, biting and scratching each other before one manages to escape, only to be grabbed again by the legs and eventually chased off by the other.

Russell, who shot the footage on the Gold Coast, said she had previously seen the pair in the same tree together. “They were fighting then, so I think things escalated over the last few days,” she said.

Many fellow Aussies in the comments suggested that the fight was over females in the area as mating season was starting early due to the warmer weather.

WIRES wildlife vet Dr Tania Bishop said territorial behaviour was not unheard of in July, but was more likely to occur during mating season which traditionally runs from August to January, with most babies born over the summer months.

“This is two males,” she told Yahoo News Australia. “It’s not unusual when a younger or new koala comes into a territory, especially during mating season. The older ones chase the younger ones away or they can have their territory taken over.”

Older males can also be “dispersed” in favour of younger koalas, often in aggressive confrontations which can cause severe bite injuries as their teeth are “like big chisels”, Bishop added.

When young male koalas reach a certain age, she said they were pushed out of their home territory by their mothers, exposing them to a host of new risks such as traffic, crossing roads, dogs, other males and the rapid disappearance of suitable habitats.

“The girls might be tolerated for a bit longer, but the boys have to find their own territory,” Bishop told Yahoo News. “It’s the most dangerous time of their life.”

She said she was currently caring for a young male koala who had been injured in a territorial fight and was receiving physio after sustaining bite wounds, a ripped arm tendon and a large amount of swelling.

Footage of the koalas fighting (left) before runs away while the other chases it (right).
The dramatic footage shows the koalas fighting before one is chased off by the other. Source: TikTok

Bishop said WIRES was alerted to the injured animal, who wouldn't have survived unless he'd been picked up. However, she advised people not to approach injured koalas as this could cause an "adrenaline rush" 10 times more ferocious than Russell's video footage and to instead call WIRES.

WIRES spokesman John Grant added: “The public like to think they’re always cute and cuddly but they forget wild koalas see us as predators and can give a nasty scratch and bite, even to their carers and vets".

"They have to be handled very cautiously, especially when they’re injured and/or in pain.”

In response to Russell's TikTok video one fellow Aussie wrote: “The males fight for areas. They really hurt each other.” While another added: “Mating season next month so the boys are getting their territory sorted.”

A third warned: “I have seen a koala scare off cows. They are not to be messed with.”

If you see an injured native animal contact WIRES 24/7 on 1300 094 737.

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