Tag Archives: koala

Are koalas really as cute as they look?

2 Apr

One of my favourite bloggers, Servetus, asked after my last post if koalas really are as cute as they look. And yes, they really are. At least as cute as puppies, certainly as cute as kittens. Watch this koala joey’s first photo shoot for a cuteness overload!

Sadly, they’re a lot more vulnerable than those domestic pets, despite their cute factor and their popularity as Australia’s national symbol. koala sleepingThey’re wild animals, generally nocturnal, very curious and often surprisingly trusting of humans. It used to be very rare to see a koala in a suburban environment, but increasingly as their habitat is destroyed by urban encroachment, we’re seeing them during the daytime seeking help – usually needing water. Here a young male has wandered into a suburban backyard and gets a drink from a kind stranger.

It’s not only urbanisation that’s threatening them. Along with many native Australian animals, they suffer severely during our summer bushfire seasons. Photos from this video were seen around the world after Australia’s 2009 bushfires. Again, a koala is desperately needing water, and puts up with being petted for the sake of a drink.

Domestic dogs are a threat. Cars are a threat. Backyard swimming pools are a threat (in my suburb, homeowners with swimming pools are installing ropes just under the lips of their pools, so koalas who fall in after seeking a drink have a way of climbing out again). Chlamydia is ravaging many koala populations, causing blindness and infertility.

koala bathIn rural areas, cattle are a threat. Young male koalas, particularly, are attacked by cows which herd and trample them as they attempt to move between trees. This photo went viral in Australia under the heading “Koala takes a bath”, until it was pointed out the koala was probably trapped between the water trough and the cows behind it. Unlike roos, they’re fairly slow moving and can’t get themselves out of trouble in a hurry, particularly on open ground.

Sorry, this is all very grim! The question was their cuteness, but it’s hard to talk about how beautiful they are without despairing over how endangered they are. Back to the cute!

Their fur is just as soft as it looks, even on full-grown adults. They have very sharp claws, and have been known to climb human “tkoala mum and joeyrees” standing too still watching them. And they’re often not terribly nice to each other, either. This pair fought like children over a favourite tree. The crying you hear in the video isn’t how we usually know koalas are about. More often, they sound like this (and usually in the depths of the night!).

Their feeding habits also appear to be changing. It used to be believed they only ate leaves from a very limited range of eucalypt species, but researchers are now discovering they’re also eating insects as well as from a much wider variety of tree species – whether this is an adaptation to their changing environment or simply a new discovery of longstanding behaviour, we’re not really sure.

Their smell is unmistakeable, thanks to their eucalyptus diet, but unlike possums, it’s not particularly unpleasant. In fact, there’s nothing nicer, really, than bushwalking through a eucalyptus forest and sniffing that koala aroma on the breeze!

So yes, they are absolutely as cute as they look. Come on down and visit, Servetus, and I’ll introduce you!

Gracie x

 

Friday in Five

1 Apr

Got five minutes? Here are a few of the things I’ve loved this week!

View of the week

3689783_origIf you’ve not yet read the momentous first meeting between Matt and Pippa in my new novel, A Case for Trust (ha! See what I did there?!), this beautiful video will provide your imagination all the fuel it needs for the setting: a magnificent full moon rising over the spectacular Cape Byron Lighthouse in Byron Bay. The Eastern-most point of the Australian continent, it’s a wild and beautiful spot, a perfect spot for romance, and inspired the very first scene in A Case for Trust! Enjoy the video, and enjoy the story!

 

Pic of the week

Amanda's Moulin RougeAmanda Hamilton’s quirky, through-the-looking-glass watercolours are taking over the world (it’s all part of a cunning plan to bring the world more colour and joy, I assure you!). This one is a particular favourite of mine, from a fabulous series Amanda made last September while we were exploring Paris together. It makes me smile every time I see it!

 

Flick of the week

Courtyard, Palais du Luxembourg 5It doesn’t take much to have me dreaming of Paris. Amanda’s Moulin Rouge does it; and this week, so has Paris, Je t’aime, an omnibus of short films by an extraordinary roll-call of writers, directors and actors.  Through the neighbourhoods of the City of Light, love is ‘veiled, revealed, imitated, sucked dry, reinvented and awakened’. It’s delicious, poignant, visually stunning. And more than enough to have me salivating once again for my soul city.

 

 

Song of the week

La MerOh, look, why not? We’re talking lighthouses and crashing oceans and Paris and romance, and bestselling Regency romance writer Anna Campbell suggested weeks ago that this song, in French naturellement, and by the dashing Charles Trenet, trumps every English version. Also: I get to show off another beautiful (non-French, very Australian) beach!

 

Person of the week

Easter copperThis Brisbane Valley policeman. Easter is very often a deadly time on Australian roads – perhaps it’s the extra weight from all the chocolate, applied to car accelerators – and without our stern copper’s intervention, it could have been very sad indeed for this local pedestrian.

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Have a fabulous weekend! And remember to drop me a line about anything you’ve loved and want to share!

Gracie x

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