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Published January 15, 2008 10:49 AM

Ol’ Blue Eyes Returns to Earth as a Koala

In a list of the cutest, cuddliest animals ever, the koala would have to be somewhere near the top.

From the adorable way they crawl around and eat eucalyptus leaves to their plump bellies and funny noses, these animals make you want to give them a hug.

You should never hug a koala though. It could harm them and they can tear you up with their teeth and claws if you disturb them. But if you saw one of the newest additions to the Dreamworld theme park’s koala family in Australia’s Gold Coast, you might not be able to help yourself.

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Frankie was named after Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra. It’s a fitting namesake, as this baby koala is the first verifiable instance of a blue eyed koala in recorded history. Koalas almost always have brown eyes, making Frankie a one of a kind animal. The Australian Koala Foundation has said it has been unable to find any other instance of a blue eyed koala throughout its history.

Keepers were initially worried that the coloring was the result of a disease that could harm his sight. After running a few tests, however, they found that, apart from reduced pigment in the eye, he was completely healthy. The coloring doesn’t seem to affect his eyesight at all. Frankie has perfect vision.

Frankie is about nine months old, although his unique eye color was only discovered recently. Michelle Barnes, a supervisor at the Dreamworld park, said: “They spend their first few months in the pouch so it wasn’t until he was five or six months old that we first noticed he had blue eyes.” Despite all the media attention Frankie is receiving these days, he is still too young to face the public. He should make his first appearance some time in the next couple of months.

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