My first night on Kangaroo Island I found myself sitting at a picnic table in the caravan park, editing through photos on my laptop when I heard the most god-awful guttural grunt that I can only describe as some sort of demon pig sound. I grabbed my flashlight and had a look around but saw nothing, though the noise continued. It wasn’t until the following evening that I discovered what was making this terrifying sound, it was the infamous “drop bear” that I’d only recently learned about. To my surprise, when I aimed my light into the trees and saw where it was coming from, at first it appeared to be a harmless, cuddly koala when in fact, it was a drop bear. Never in a million years could I have ever imagined that noise emanating from a koala -apparently they are koalas by day and drop bears by night.
After shooting out near the coast my final evening on the island and returning to the caravan park well after sundown, I parked the van, stepped out and was immediately greeted by the chilling grunt of a drop bear, directly above my campsite. Not wanting to miss this opportunity, I set up my 400mm telephoto lens with a flash and LumiQuest Pocket Bounce diffuser and began capturing images of the beast, glowing red eyes and all. If you should find yourself in Australia, beware after that what appears to be a cute, teddy-bear-like creature during the day will transform into the dreaded drop bear after sundown.
Disclaimer: most of the information in this post is accurate, including the beastly sound that koalas make at night. From what I understand, koalas can be quite vicious when cornered but otherwise, they are relatively calm-mannered marsupials, probably because they spend much of their time in the trees high on eucalyptus oil from the gum tree leaves they feed on.
On that note, I am on my way north from Adelaide to Mount Remarkable and the Flinders Ranges for the next couple of nights before making my way back to Sydney. I’ve been in country two weeks now with just under one week left. As anticipated, this journey has gone by quickly but when I look back on all the places I’ve visited, the wonderful people I’ve met along the way and the images I’ve created (even the drop bear), it feels like a lifetime.
Authentic Kangaroo Island
National Parks South Australia