This Scottish reporter was tricked into wearing full protective gear to hold a fearsome Aussie drop bear

 

Amidst the devastation of the bushfires, Aussies still managed to pull a classic prank on an unsuspecting Scottish reporter.

It's a commonly known fact in Australia that drop bears are amongst the most fearsome creatures on this continent.

Over the weekend, UK’s ITV News Asia correspondent Debi Edward discovered that for herself, when she donned full-body protective gear to hold one of the "vicious" beasts, more commonly known as a koala.

Of course, Edward didn't know she was only holding a koala. The drop bear is a classic Australian hoax, typically used to scare unsuspecting foreigners while locals have a giggle. It's pretty rare that it's effective enough to get someone into full body armour, though -- and especially rare to capture the whole thing on film.

In a video uploaded to Facebook by Australian video producer Sean Mulcahy, viewers can watch the entire glorious prank unfold.

The video opens with Edward standing at Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, donning protective boots, armour and goggles as veterinarian Dr Garnett Hall gives her some background on the threat at hand.

"Drop bears are a close cousin of the koala, but they're actually really vicious," Dr Hall explains, totally deadpan.

"They're bigger, they've got longer claws -- they've actually got really small fangs, and the interesting thing about the fangs 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."

"The third most common injury that we see in tourists in Australia is actually from drop bear attack."

As Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park co-owner Sam Mitchell approaches with a perfectly normal koala, Dr Hall continues to warn Edward of the approaching threat, while backing away to a safe distance.

When Edward is finally handed the koala, she's petrified. Despite her full-body protective gear, she tells the camera that she's "trying not to be worried, because I've been told that he can sense if I'm worried."

Eventually, though, she can't hold in the fear -- possibly because in the background, someone has just announced that they're "going to grab the dart gun".

"Please, please take it off me," she begs, and Dr Hall obliges.

It's only after two people have handled the perfectly harmless koala without protective gear that the penny drops. And oh, it's a glorious sight to see.

"Fucking Aussies," is how Edward sums it up. "Oh my god, I like totally bought it. Hook, line and sinker."

Speaking to The Today Show this morning, Edward had a laugh about the experience, saying that "there were several points, looking back, obviously, where I thought 'that's maybe not quite right.'"

"But these guys were like 'you should really try this, this is one thing we only do for our special visitors.'"

Still, she said it was ultimately a positive experience, pointing out that it was the first time she'd seen the crew at Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park laugh that day. Kangaroo Island and its wildlife have been hit hard by the recent bushfires, which have taken several lives and properties, and burnt more than 200,000 hectares.

On Facebook, Mulcahy urged those who enjoyed the prank to contribute to bushfire relief efforts on the island.

"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," he wrote, linking to a fundraiser run by Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park.

"In times of tragedy and incessant misery, sometimes humour is the best medicine."