Australian Koala
A Koala named 'Elle' sits in her enclosure at Wildlife World in Sydney June 28, 2011. Reuters/Tim Wimborne

A koala in Australia has saved its own life after being hit by a fast-moving vehicle by clinging on to the car’s grille. The koala, now named "Bear Grills" by the car's driver, survived a 10-kilometre journey at 100km/h speed with only a few scratches and a bad temper.

The driver, Loren Davis, said that she accidentally hit the koala while travelling on the South Eastern freeway on Wednesday night and thought that the koala was already dead. She explained that she had "no choice but to hit the koala" because of the cars behind her.

However, Davis said that when she arrived home feeling upset about killing a koala, she surprisingly found the animal alive and stuck in her car’s grille. The koala was “very good, very healthy, very cranky,” she told the ABC.

When animal rescuer Don Bigham came to check on the koala’s condition in Davis’ garage, he saw that it had climbed on some gym equipment, showing good health. The Bear Grills, as they call it, was taken for an x-ray and other medical tests, before it is released back to the Mount Barker area on Friday.

Anne Bigham, a wildlife carer who monitors the Fauna Rescue of South Australia hotline, said it was a “miracle” that the 11-kilogramme koala survived the incident. “It really is a miracle, isn’t it, that he has got hooked up in the car and driven 10 or 12 km, then got himself down again with only a few scratches,” she said.

The incident is the fourth time that the rescuers have seen a koala stuck inside a car after a road accident, Anne said. However, it was only the second time that a koala had survived.

Earlier in September, the ABC reported another koala in a grille incident in Adelaide. The animal was lucky to have survived as it got stuck in the car headfirst after it was hit. In 2011 and 2014, two koalas also survived the same accident in Queensland.

The number of koalas dying from road accidents still outweighs those that manage to survive. Estimates show that nearly 85 percent of the koalas involved in road accidents die from injuries.

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