26 Oct

Koalas are not bears. They are marsupials carrying their young in a pouch and are most closely related to kangaroos and wombats.

They sleep 14 to 18 hours during the day and eat eucalyptus leaves the rest of the time.

And look very cute doing it too.

When koalas are born they are the size of a jelly bean. The “joeys”  grow in the mother’s pouch and finally emerge when they are  about five to six  months old. Then they ride on their mother’s back for about a year.  They aren’t mature until they are three  or four years old. 

The koalas live  high in the leaves of  the eucalyptus trees they eat. Of about 600 varieties of eucalyptus (gum trees), they only like 120 kinds and of those there are really only 4 to 6 that are their favorites. This limits the territory koalas tend to inhabit.

There are only about 40,000 to 80,000 koalas left in Australia as their territory is shrinking due to  encroaching human population. They are also prey for dogs and cars. Adelaide has built stiles across the median barriers on major highways to allow the koalas to pass more easily and avoid being hit.

They communicate with other koalas by snoring and belching. You have to love the little guys. When stressed koalas bellow a loud cry that sounds like a human baby wailing.

They have two thumbs on each of  their front paws that allow them to grip and climb. Gives “sleep tight” a new definition.


6 Responses to “Koalas”

  1. Neil Freer October 27, 2012 at 4:06 am #

    Looks to me as if they long ago learned to play to the tourist trade……….and all they have to do is sleep and eat. Great gig.
    I’m too slow on the uptake sometimes……just realized that I should have worn my prize apron and dished out the pizza to ooooohs and aaaaaahs at the work day picnic time
    Get to Ayer’s Rock yet?

    • Jill October 27, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

      Hi Neil, Ayers Rock is a bit far afield for us. You would have wowed them at the workday picnic…Bird of Paradise in Eldorado, a first. J

  2. Maryl October 26, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    You gotta love the Koala. They look so cuddly and cute but your comment that they have sharp teeth & claws is a reminder that they are “wild”. Hard to imagine the snorting and belching that comes from such a cute creature. How were you able to get “up close and personal” with the koalas? Do they have the equivalent of a petting zoo?

    • Jill October 26, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

      It was amazing to pet their fur. It is really dense to protect them from rain…like a natural raincoat. We went to a wildlife park where the animals are out in the open. Also got to pet a wallaby, another photo. The animals are just out all around you. The koalas live in an enclosure with climbing trees and constant sprinklers going to imitate their natural habitat. I suspect the koalas the ranger brought out were the most docile and it was the daytime so they were “sleepy.”

  3. Ursula Freer October 26, 2012 at 9:51 am #

    They are so cute, but so are you guys!
    You probably know that we had a garden workday to finish the season. I am still growing stuff but I covered it up as it’s supposed to go down to 25 degrees F tonight!

    • Jill October 26, 2012 at 10:13 am #

      We have been following all of the garden stuff and just got the photos from the work day. Everyone looks great and we noticed all of the new additions to the garden. Good work. Have only seen one community garden here (in planter boxes) so far. Koalas are darn cute but they do have sharp teeth and claws.

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