Terry Watts (sirterrywatts) wrote,
Terry Watts

Koala - Phascolarctos cinereus

In Spring, it is the best time to see Australian wildlife out and about with their young. Koalas, in particular, will hang onto their parent's fur coat and cling for a few months when they are old enough to leave the pouch.

Interestingly the koala pouch faced backwards, unlike the kangaroo that faces forwards. The first time I saw a koala joey was by surprise as the mother turned around and walked away, with the joey's head poking out the other way. Making for a confusing moment were the koala appeared to have two heads, one each end of its body.

The koala diet at this stage, poses a few problems to their young. Gum leaves are toxic in general and eating them will make most animals very unwell. Koalas have bacteria in their stomach that breaks down these toxins and helps them safely digest these leaves. Most unfortunately, the young koalas have to eat the faeces of the mother for a week or two in order to obtain the balance of gut bacteria necessary to live the rest of their life.

Today's photograph was taken outside a local wildlife hospital. On the koala's right forearm the young mom has had a blood test. As a result, the arm has a missing square patch of fur. Where the vet would have shaved to find where the koala's arm actually is. Regardless, I think the photograph worked out well with a healthy mom and son heading out for a walk.

Tags: australian wildlife, koala, phascolarctos cinereus, photography
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Koalas are one of my absolute favourites, thank you for the remarkable photograph and this very interesting story.