Hi, my name is Blinky and I’m a Koala. You know, the cute little critters with the sharp claws that could rip your eyes out! I’m 7 feet tall….ok only kidding, I’m about 1 foot tall. I live in this awesome little place called Kennett River. It’s on the Great Ocean Road. I get to sit up in the trees all day looking out over the ocean and watching the world go by.
Normally in about the middle of the morning, these big white things with wheels show up. There are people inside looking through the glass, gawking. It’s pretty funny. Sometimes I laugh hysterically at the looks on their faces, pointing and sudden flashes (apparently according to my friend across the way Joey, they are called cameras). I really wish I had one of these cameras so that I could make flashes at the funny looks on their faces!
But enough about them, let me tell you a little bit about myself. Back in the time before time began, these people came to live with us here in Australia. Us Koalas, got to know them really well, and they called us Koala (which apparently means….doesn’t drink. What a joke, I have to say I drink enough to get by!) These people, the aboriginals, have been here in Australia for over 60,000 years, maybe even longer, and we existed quite happily together for a very long time.
These days, us Koalas live in many different areas in Australia. And my home in Kennett River, from what I hear is one of the most beautiful. I live here with my wife, Em, and my son Oscar. Oscar is only 8 months old, and just officially out of the pouch (I will tell you more about that later). Em is fantastic, we have been together now for 2 years. Oscar is our 2nd Joey, and he is such a delight. Our 1st left us only a couple of months ago. She has gone out and gotten her own hubby, and someday soon she will have kids of her own.
I should tell you a little bit about the journey of a baby Joey. When they are “born”, they are called “pinkies”. They are tiny, about the size of your thumb nail, pink, with no hair, no vision or hearing. They crawl immediately into mum’s pouch (this awesome pocket the women have to carry their babies.) It’s in front, a pocket on the outside of mum’s belly. So the Joey crawls in, attaches itself to a teat, and starts to suckle, which it keeps doing for 3 or 4 months before it really does anything else! At about this point in time, the joey starts to poke it’s head out occasionally to look around at the outside world. By now it has most of it’s hair, and is starting to adapt it’s vision and hearing. A month or so later, the Joey gets very daring, and begins to venture completely out of the pouch. At this stage the Joey is pretty lazy I must admit, and hangs out either on mum’s back, or clings to her belly. I gotta admit, I really admire Em.
She has been with Oscar day in, day out since he was born, not even a minute to herself. I would go nuts, but she seems to really love it. She is a great mum in that respect.
For the next few months, say between 5 and 8 months old the little bugger hangs out just like this, and even starts to venture sometimes into the branches. The Joey still spends a lot of it’s time in the pouch, and then one day, BANG, they are too big to be in the pouch. So mum literally pushes them out, and even though they try really really hard, she won’t let them back in. That’s the stage Oscar is at now, and even though he isn’t very happy about it….that’s life isn’t it! So from here on he is weaned, and Em and I will start to teach him to eat the Eucalyptus leaves. There are hundreds of species of eucalyptus trees in Australia, and we only eat approx 13 of them. We are pretty fussy buggers that way. I reckon those people in those big white vehicles must be a little silly, cos I hear that even tho we can tell the difference between the trees straight away, they can’t bless their little cotton socks.
From now onwards, we will be teaching Oscar everything he needs to know about surviving life. We live normally about 15 years in the wild. Longer in captivity, maybe 25 years. I would hate not being free, I just love my little tree and the spectacular views over the Great Ocean Road. Our little girl, Steph left us when she was nearly 18 months. Girls grow up much faster than the boys, who normally don’t leave mum and dad until they are 3 years old. They go off and get their own families, and live their own lives.
We are pretty lazy too, you know. We sleep on average about 20 hours each day, and the other 4 hours we eat and eat and eat. Eucalyptus leaves taste pretty terrible even to us, but there is nothing else that we can eat. Sometimes I get a belly ache if I eat too much of the leaves at the bottom of the tree, but they taste much sweeter than the eucalyptus leaves at the top.
And that indeed, pretty much sums up our lives. We look cute (Em is pretty cute, anyway, I have never been able to look at myself!) And babies are simply gorgeous, and we are quite cuddly. But don’t mess with our claws, cos they are extremely sharp and cause destruction!
That’s it from me. I’m gonna go back to my tree and my family now, and continue to be cute, cuddly and very very lazy. And that’s the way us koala’s roll.