Christmas Koalas

Just as we thought we’d seen the last of the rarer wildlife for this year, we had a visit from a koala and young that I think are the same ones that came by just over a year ago. The joey had grown sizeably larger, naturally, and was now just a little smaller than mum. However, it was now much more adventurous, as it was climbing all about looking for the best gum leaves, though regularly coming back to mum for a bit of what appeared reassurance. Mind you, at times, harassing mum seemed to be more of a hurry up to get her to move to another location. Once again, they were moving about during the hottest part of the day and I’d always thought they’d be resting somewhere and moving about only in the early morning or late afternoon. At first the two were in a fairly open area amongst the trees, so I had a reasonable opportunity for photographs and video, but then they moved into the denser canopy making it difficult to see them.

Christmas Koalas

Christmas Koalas

I have no idea which way they were moving, from the north from whence they came last year or towards the north, but going north would mean less trees to provide food and shelter. While there are trees further in that direction, many have been removed since last year and so I’m not sure what they will find, if they’ve been away for a year. But given that mum must have lived in the area for many years, I guess she knows what she’s doing. Though living in the more dense southerly forest and then going to the more sparsely treed northern area may come with a surprise. This time around, the two appeared to be far less concerned with my presence, though I’m assuming they were high enough in the trees to feel safe. And perhaps with the Joey now a year older, mum wasn’t so concerned about its safety, as it was not as fully dependent on her as last year. So I kept the video camera handy and went out every so often to check on their whereabouts, hoping that they’d come into a more open area once again.

Christmas Koalas

Christmas Koalas

Christmas Koalas

Christmas Koalas

To be honest, the joey was actually quite chubby and clambering over mum was clearly not a great experience for her. When the joey wanted to go over mum, it simply barged through and damn the torpedoes. Mum was having a rough time of it and judging by her expression, one of surprised pain at one point, the joey clearly had a much larger and firmer grip now than when a wee tacker a year ago. For anyone that hasn’t seen a koala close up, they have very long and sharp claws. They have to be long, strong and sharp to allow them to grip and climb all manner of trees with the ease that they so often display. They may at times appear sloth-like, but when they want to move fast, they most certainly can move fast. I most certainly would not like to be on the receiving end of an angry koala’s grip and I would hazard a guess that even a happy koala could inadvertently cause quite some pain if gripping a bare arm or the like.

Christmas Koalas

Christmas Koalas

Christmas Koalas

Christmas Koalas

Christmas Koalas

Christmas Koalas

Anyway, I kept a periodic watch on the koalas and one moment they were in the tree and the next they were gone. I couldn’t find a trace of them anywhere in adjacent trees and a brief check in trees at the top and bottom of the yard showed no koalas either. So which way they went only they knew. But whatever the direction they were moving, maybe they spend their time going back and forth between the trees on the northern and southern side of us, simply moving about during the changing seasons. Maybe they move about constantly all year round and we just don’t notice. While trees on the northern side have reduced in quantity, there’s still quite a few along the road that are very large and may offer shelter and food all year round. That said, the trees on the southern side, fronting the Little Morwell River and in Baths Road Reserve further on, are much more substantial and there are far more of them. It’s also much quieter on the the southern side than the northern, with barely any traffic other than walkers.

So once again we had another visit from the wildlife that roams around our area all year round. We really don’t know what to expect on any day, as we could have a koala one day, an echidna the next, followed by a kangaroo a day later. One day there may well be a deer standing at the bottom of the garden, as they are starting to become more prevalent in the area. I’m not sure what our hound would make of that.

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