Some koalas these holidays will have paws full with parenting duties. Two little koala joeys at Taronga Zoo have started to emerge from their mums’ pouches as they’ve been getting just a bit too toasty during the first weeks of summer.
Both Sydney and Willow are second-time mums, and for now their joeys are still hanging out with them full-time.
“It’s a bit hot inside that pouch on steamy summer days, so he’s started to climb out and sit on Sydney’s head or cling to her belly and back,” koala keeper Laura Jones says of Sydney’s seven-month-old male joey.
Sydney's joey clinging to his mum.
“He’s still climbing back into the pouch occasionally, but it’s a tight squeeze and his arms or legs are often sticking out. By New Year’s Eve I don’t think he’ll fit back in,” says Jones.
Sydney's joey is growing larger every day.
For Willow’s eight-month-old things are a bit more advanced—she’s already starting to get a taste for eucalyptus leaves, although her nibbling skills need work.
While mum eats breakfast, Willow's joey is attempting to nibble some of her own.
The joeys are getting increasingly warm as they snuggle up to their mums.
According to Jones, it’s going to be at least three more months before both yet-to-be named joeys start exploring the world on their own. However, some lucky visitors at Taronga Zoo’s Koala Encounter are starting to meet them.
Sydney and Willow belong to Taronga’s 20-strong koala family, which now includes their two babies. Each year the zoo staff welcome two or three new koala joeys, and it’s right about this time of year that they start to show their little faces to the world.
Willow's eight-month-old is starting to view the world from up high.
In the wild, this time of year is breeding season for koalas, so as you head out to visit family over the holidays, make sure to drive carefully.
“Koalas, particularly males, will be on the ground more and potentially crossing roads as they range around for territory and search for females,” explains keeper Laura Jones.
“Motorists should be particularly careful when driving at dawn and dusk.”
PHOTOS: Paul Fahy / Courtesy Taronga Zoo