Animal Diaries Archive
3 June 2005The koala section is expecting again and very soon we're going to see some brand new, yet tiny koala faces!
Koalas have a very short pregnancy lasting for only thirty-five days (imagine that mums!) However, koalas like all marsupials give birth to very undeveloped young. A koala joey is born weighing in at only half a gram and is approximately two 2cm long. It has no fur; its eyes are still un-opened, in fact the only thing that is well developed is the koalas fore-arms, claws and its sense of smell! It is thought that the joey makes the 10cm climb from the birth-canal into the backwards facing pouch guided only by its sense of smell. That's pretty amazing! The little joey stays in the pouch for 5 ½ to 6 ½ months where it undergoes a lot of development. It will grow some lovely soft fur, its eyes will open, and its ears appear! At five months of age we start to see a little nose, arms and legs sticking out of mum's now enormous pouch, and at six months the little joey will start to climb out of the pouch and onto mums back and tummy.
Our breeding program at Australia Zoo is highly successful. At present we have 32 koalas ranging from ages between 11 months to 17 years. We also have four mothers with joeys ranging from Edna's baby at one month of age, to Molly's little one at 6 ΒΌ months of age. We also have one pregnant mum! That's not bad considering that the koala breeding season runs from September through the March!
So far Molly's little baby has shown us its nose, and yesterday Chloe's little one stuck its head out and had a look at the world for the first time! It's a very exciting time for the koala keepers at the moment as we can't wait to see how many new boy and girl koalas we have! And just like expectant parents, we are all quarrelling over what names to give to our precious new arrivals!
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