In My Next Life, I Want to be a Koala

I haven't made up my mind yet about the whole idea of reincarnation, but if it does exist, then I'd like to make a request. In my next life, please let me be a koala.


This photo pretty much says it all:

Photo by Mike Richey

Koalas sleep an average of 18 hours a day. That's 75% of every day spent in Dreamland. Sounds like paradise. It might even make up for all days in this life that I had to wake up at or before 5 am to go to the day job, not to mention all the restless and sleepless nights I spend wrestling with my demons.

That's not all. Koalas spend their 6 waking hours a day eating and climbing trees. Spend all my waking hours eating and playing? Sign me up!

Those who work with koalas have also made a fascinating discovery in recent years: koalas are highly adaptable. As their environment has warmed, koalas have found ways to cool off--hanging out in human-built swimming pools and drinking from humans' water bottles were two popular examples. In other words, koalas deal with climate change far better than I do!

When confronted with a dangerous or scary situation, koalas don't flee or fight. They curl into a ball and wait for the danger to pass. Unfortunately, this behavior cost many koalas their lives when wildfires raged through the Australian bush, but I have to say, as coping behaviors go, it's one I find very attractive. Don't want to go to work? Curl in ball until the work day is over! It's the whole "if I ignore it, it will go away" defense mechanism in all its evolutionary perfection.

And, let's face it: koalas are cute and cuddly--two words that have never been used to describe me. I suppose there is a remote possibility that being cute and cuddly is an oppressive experience. All those people wanting to hug you and hold you. I suppose that could be completely horrible. But I'd like to give it a shot, just once, just to see what it's like.

Koalas are an endangered species. Scientists estimate there are only a few thousand left in existence. So, if I am reincarnated as a koala, then this adorable marsupial would have survived another generation or more. And that's no joking matter.

Koala information from National Geographic channel's "Koala Hospital."