Koalas Are On The Move In The Local Area
There is a lot of activity in the Koala world at the beginning of Spring:
- Males are looking for love
- Juveniles are leaving their Mum’s and venturing into the big wide world alone. The boys in particular are needing to find their own territory which is quite a dangerous time for them as in some areas there is not enough habitat to separate them from the dominant Male, so they end up in trouble in backyards and on roads.
- They could be roaming to find their favourite tree which may not be there anymore due to clearing or may have been burnt in last years fires.
Koalas need to eat a variety of different types of eucalyptus and even sometimes dirt is eaten to keep their gut healthy. They will travel some distance to find the right tree and will remember where the tree is even if it is some distance away. If the tree has been removed they can become quite confused.
Some leaf types make their poo pellets soft and some do the opposite. Their diet needs fresh young shooting leaf and also the more mature leaves. They have a very complicated Gut with an extremely long caecum which is necessary to digest the harsh Eucalyptus leaf. If the Gut flora balance is upset and not rectified it could lead to gut stasis which is when the gut will stop working altogether and the koala will die. When a koala is attacked by a dog or has a bad injury from a fall it is a dangerous time for them as they need Antibiotics but this could upset their gut flora badly and become life threatening due to the gut seizing up.
One remedy which is used to counteract this is to give the unwell koala some fresh liquid poo from a healthy Koala. This is called Pap and the Mother Koala will excrete this to give to their young Joey just before they start to eat leaf. The fresh poo will populate the gut flora. It’s a bit like us having a probiotic after we have taken Antibiotics ourselves.
So in general, in order for the Koala to survive they need large areas to roam filled with a variety of Eucalyptus species.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
- Look out for Koalas on roads. If you hit one call for help immediately. If it runs off, keep an eye on where it went or if up a tree then mark the tree and give location details.
- Keep Dogs inside at night
- Check your fencing to make sure a koala can climb out or if not place a ladder to fallen tree branch so it can climb over
- Pools are a drowning hazard for them so leave
- a rope in the pool or a float they can cling to
If you find a sick or injured animal call:
Wildcare Hotline 5527 2444
By Sherryn Fraser
(Qualified Vet Nurse)
Rescuer and Rehabilitator