This entry was posted on 3/16/2007 4:58 AM and is filed under Australia.
We were lucky to be invited to see a special guest that was brought to The Sea Temple Hotel to entertain a private group of travellers that were on an around the world blitz via Star Quest Expeditions. See their website http://www.starquestexpeditions.com These travelers were on a 3 week journey by private plane around the world. Check out their itinerary if you want to have a virtual experience of their very amazing adventure.
The organizers had arranged to have this very tame koala from the Cairns Zoo come to the Hotel and do a photo shoot with their guests. Lucky us, to be invited to join them. Thank you Bob Houston and Micheline Place!
Here's a little movie of this sweet koala in action...
This koala was a female about 2 years old and had been working with a trainer since very young to become socialized. Koalas usually sleep about 20 hours a day and have a very small brain.
Female koalas reach maturity at 2 to 3 years of age, males at 3 to 4 years. If healthy, a female Koala can produce one young each year for about 12 years. Gestation is 35 days; twins are very rare. Mating normally occurs between December and March.
A baby Koala is referred to as a joey and is hairless, blind, and earless. At birth the joey, only the size of a jelly bean, crawls into the downward-facing pouch on the mother's belly (which is closed by a drawstring-like muscle that the mother can tighten at will) and attaches itself to one of the two teats. The downward-facing pouch provides a much shorter trip from the birth canal to the pouch than in other marsupials. Therefore the forearms need not be as developed for the journey into the pouch, and can develop more fully for excellent climbing ability later in life. Young remain hidden in the pouch for about six months, only feeding on milk. During this time they grow ears, eyes, and fur. The joey then begins to explore outside of the pouch. At about 30 weeks it has begun to eat the semi-liquid form of the mother’s excrement called "pap". The baby Koala will remain with the mother for another six months or so, riding on her back, and feeding on both milk and gum leaves until weaning is complete at about 12 months of age. The young females disperse to nearby areas at that time while young males often stay in the mother's home range until they are two or three years old.
They live on Eucalyptus leaves and rarely drink, getting most of their fluids from these leaves. Koalas spend about 3 of their 5 active hours eating. They feed at any time of day, but usually at night.
We were amazed by how sweet this Koala was. Her fur was extremely soft and she was very comfortable being the center of attention.
3/27/2007 2:23 PM
Love your work. Hope you are both well. Checked your blog it looks fabulous. Well you haven't hit Melbourne yet,you will love the place. I will send another email and let you know some fab spots to go. Must go Love Tracey and Mark Moritz Reply to this