AKA Prepare To Go Awwwwwwww!!!!
Following my adventures with Jeff, KB sent me an email to send to Peggy, to continue her love affair with all things koala. I did indeed send the email to Peggy however the pictures were just too amazing (and fricking cute) not to share with you all.
It is believed these baby koalas were rescued from a mother killed by a car. As mother koalas are hugely protective over their children, seeing pictures of koalas this young is incredibly rare. This really is phenomenal. Also, full marks to the wildlife personnel who reared the koalas. For months baby koalas live on a special koala milk so hand rearing them like this is incredibly labour intensive.
The new baby koala, called a “joey”, is roughly 2 centimetres long and weighs less than 1 gram, looking rather like a pink jellybean as it is totally hairless, blind and has no ears.
Normally a joey makes its way from the birth canal to the pouch, where it will live for six to seven months. In the pouch it would attach itself to the mother’s teat, which swells to fill its mouth, preventing the joey from being dislodged from its source of food.
The young koala would drink only mother’s milk for the first six to seven months of its life and would remain in the pouch for all of that time, slowly growing and developing eyes, ears, fur etc.
At about 22 weeks, its eyes open and it begins to peep out of the pouch.
From about 22 to 30 weeks, it begins to feed upon a substance called “pap” which the mother produces in addition to milk. Pap is a specialised form of faeces which forms an important part of the young koala’s diet, allowing it to make the transition from milk to eucalyptus leaves. How the wildlife personnel reproduced this I do not know. Let’s assume they did and look at the cute pictures.
The joey would remain with its mother for another six months or so, riding on her back, and feeding on both milk and eucalyptus leaves until weaning is completed at about 12 months of age.
Thanks to KB for the excellent pictures which I have mercilessly plundered and thanks to Peggy for letting me steal her email.
However, seriously, that was an 11 on the cuteness scale.
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