Animal Diaries Archive
Buns in the Oven
25 April 2008
Well it is autumn here at Australia Zoo. The koala breeding season is finished, the weather is cooling down and the animals are curling up or slowing down to keep warm and to stay healthy. It is an exciting time of year for us in the koalas department as some of our female koalas are hiding some special little surprises! In the last few months we have had a few mum’s give birth to joeys, which are nestled tightly inside their mums’ pouches.
As the joeys grow bigger we are starting to see the mothers pouches swell in size, but they are holding them tightly closed for now. At this early stage we don’t even know if the joeys are male or female. It is a long and exciting wait for us before the little ones come out and show themselves! Our koala mums are preparing themselves for the big event with lots of feeding, sleeping and relaxation time (exactly what koalas do best). It will be winter before the joeys reach 6 months old and start to emerge from the pouch. The relatively mild winter of the southern hemisphere experienced by koalas allows for this very special reproduction cycle. When they first emerge from the pouch, koala joeys have a minimal fur coat and still rely on their mother for warmth. There has been lots of juicy food over the summer months so that koalas could breed but now it’s solely up to the mums to keep themselves well fed on the winter leaf and produce quality milk for their pouch young.
In captivity things are great for koalas this time of year because it is the responsibility of zoo keepers to source and provide nutritionally adequate food. In the wild it’s another matter! A combination of drought stress on eucalypt growth, as well as the pressures of urban development will mean wild female mother koalas have got a tough couple of months ahead. Stay tuned over the coming months for more news about our new little zoo additions as well as how local wild populations are faring.
Our Amazing Koalas
Koalas vary in size and colour depending on where they live in Australia. Koalas found in the southern distributions (Southern NSW and Victoria) tend to be ...more