Koalas are amazing creatures, native to Australia with fascinating habits and interesting lifestyle. Koalas are found in eucalypt forests around the Eastern and South Eastern coast of Australia. They are not only adorable as adults, but just imagine how cute they are as babies. All marsupial babies are called joeys; kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, tasmanian devils, possums and bilbies. The name ‘joey’ was first recorded in use in 1839 for baby marsupials, but the meaning or origin is unknown. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koala
Koala joeys are born high up the eucalypt trees as tiny naked creatures looking nothing like a koala; they move straight into the pouch of their mother, attach themselves inside to develop eyes, legs and fur and only appear again when they are about 6 months old leaving the pouch in short intervals. By the age of 8 to 9 months they are too large to get back into the pouch. That is when they start spending time on their mother’s belly or back getting trapped in her fur. Koala joeys eat ‘pap’ - before eating eucalyptus leaves - a special substance produced by their mother that acts like a probiotic. It contains gut flora that the joey needs to process eucalypt leaves, which is the only food koalas eat.
The breeding season for koalas is approximately from August to February with increased movement of them for mating with much louder sound levels of the male koala bellow. When a female koala is ready to breed she will call out to a male by letting out a loud snorting bellow. At that time the young from the previous year leave their mother and disperse but making sure they stay close.
In the wild and also in captivity, koalas can live up to 15 years of age. They are sexually mature when they are two years old and females have the ability to bear over 10 joeys in their lifetime.
(A tribute to a special koala, which lived in the sanctuary of one of our contributors in an earlier blog: https://www.enviroblog.net/blog/a-tribute-to-a-wonderful-koala-named-mist)
The majority of wild koalas are found on private properties and as the result there is no formal protection of this habitat, but dedicated people and wildlife carers provide a natural home for koalas and other wildlife in sanctuaries, nature reserves or - as in our case - in the backyard of our office, where I was lucky to watch a joey move trees.
🎥 (3:41) KoalaGardens NSW, Australia, published 25 July 2018
Koala “Maxine” producing pap for her joey
Pap is necessary for joey to begin eating leaves and it is obvious that Maxine is now producing this for her joey as we watch her moving about in some younger trees.
Australia Zoo 2019 (viewed 07.02.2019)
KoalaGardens NSW, Australia (viewed 07.02.2019)