Throughout the year we get all manner of wildlife in our backyard and while it’s mainly birdlife, we also get the odd possum and of course our regular Echidnas. But one creature we haven’t seen previously is a Koala. So it was the last thing I expected to see when I came out to chastise our two hounds that were barking at something. It wasn’t the usual manic barking that indicates an Echidna is about, so I thought it must have been someone passing by and walking a dog. As always, I go outside and chastise them if they keep up too much of a ruckus, as I don’t want them barking at things without purpose. So as the two hounds were running back and forth along our fence, I assumed that it must have been an Echidna afterall and that it had disappeared into the neighbour’s bushes as they often do and so the barking stopped.
The two hounds kept up their antics and so I had a look around, but I couldn’t see anything that could have started them barking. Then I heard a slight noise and looked up at a dead gum tree next to our fence and that’s when I saw a Koala with a baby on its back. No wonder the hounds couldn’t figure out where it went, for as soon as they spotted it on the ground and started barking, the Koala would have scuttled up the nearest tree and gone very still. The Koala was almost the same colour as the tree, so it blended in quite well and that made it doubly difficult for the hounds to spot. To save any stress, though the Koala and bub didn’t appear to be all that stressed, I put the hounds inside much to their distress. At the same time I brought out my video camera to get evidence that this actually happened; if there’s no evidence, it never happened. I can’t remember ever seeing a Koala and bub this close, especially in what could be termed ‘the wild’, so I did want to get some footage of the two.
As I filmed, both were looking about and at me from time to time, but I suspect that they were more concerned about the hounds than me. So once the hounds were gone and the coast was deemed clear, mum started her downwards decent, though she was still careful and stopped every so often to ponder her surrounds. All the while the bub moved about her, scratching and doing whatever baby Koalas do, not seeming to be at all concerned about what was about. After a short while filming, I took my gear under our veranda to increase the distance between us and so resumed the descent. It’s amazing how the baby Koala can so easily hang on while mum moves about, not appearing to be in the least bit concerned with what’s going on, especially so high off the ground. I guess this is just par for the course for Koalas and this bub was obviously old enough to know what to do and what not to do.
I was hoping that as soon as the Koala reached the ground, it would move on; but no, it seemed to want to come into our yard. That was probably because it could see the tall gum trees in our yard, full of lovely gum leaves. Unfortunately, or fortunately for us, the Koala couldn’t get through the chicken wire that keeps our hounds in our yard and so it decided to find another venue, for the moment at least. To that end, it picked a smaller gum nearby and adroitly clambered up the trunk, finally settling into the canopy close to the top. It was now less than ideal to do more filming, so I settled back inside to allow the hounds to quiet down, as they were now in a lather and stressed way beyond anything the Koala would be going through. In good time they’d settle down and it’d be safe to let them out and judge that the yard was safe once more.
After about an hour I went back outside to see whether the Koala and bub had moved on, but no, they looked to be happily stretched out in the selected gum tree, munching on their favourite food (actually their only food as far as I know). The hounds were also back outside, wondering where this strange and alien creature had gone and, hopefully, my reassurances that it was gone would bring them to ease. They do seem to understand the term ‘gone’ or ‘all gone’, the latter especially when it applies to food. So for the remainder of the afternoon I kept an eye out to see whether the Koalas would move on before dark, or stay put where they were until night descended. I’m glad that high winds weren’t predicted, for while I’m sure that Koalas know how to cope, knowing that these two could be swaying about in the tops of our 100’+ gums would make me feel uneasy. But first I guess they’d have to find a way through the chicken wire, so I’m glad about the fence.
The next morning I was surprised to still see them up in the same tree, so the gum leaves must be good. As is always the case, my wife was away and missed all the excitement, which is why I took the video and photos, but both were still in the same tree when she came home. They stayed in that tree for another two days and after the third night they were gone. It’s always nice to see something like this in our yard, but I wouldn’t want a permanent colony of Koalas living here as they can become incredibly noisy depending on the season. If you’ve never heard the grunting of Koalas at night, you haven’t missed anything and the noise of drop bears (related to Koalas) is even worse.