Native only to the Land Down Under, the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) begins life as a tiny blob totally dependent upon his mama. She carries him all over the eucalyptus forest and his paws rarely, if ever, touch the ground until he’s old enough to strike out on his own.
A Star Is Born
After a 35-day gestation, the joey, or baby koala, is born and embarks on the arduous trek across his mama’s fur to the pouch on her abdomen. This little guy is only about the size of a jelly bean and weighs less than a gram. At this point he doesn’t look anything at all like a koala, or much else for that matter. His eyes don’t work yet and he doesn’t have ears or hair.
Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport
The joey locates one of two nipples inside the pouch and latches on to it. He’ll stay warm, happy and well fed right where he is for about six months, when his mama will wean him. Scientists call the joeys “pouch young” during that time.
Get a Job
At about 5 or 6 months of age, the joey pulls on his big boy pants, crawls out of the pouch and climbs up onto his mother’s back. He has now graduated from “pouch young” to “back young.” The baby koala will ride around up there until Mom kicks him out of the house around the time he turns 1 year old.
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