Today, I saw the cutest creatures in Australia. The first one was a koala bear. We went to Southern Cross University, where they have a lot of koala bears. They call it a koala sanctuary. A group of unpaid volunteers are there to help the koalas feel better when they are sick. They are like doctors for the sick koalas. They know they are sick, because their bottoms get wet and their fur is no longer fluffy. The most stressful part of a koalas life is from habitat loss, meaning the Australians are cutting down the precious eucalyptus trees for people’s homes and it makes the koalas sick and sad. And it makes me very sad too. I want to be a volunteer at the sanctuary someday.
I learned a bunch of really cool stuff from Wendy, our guide who used to be a park ranger. She is really smart and knows a lot about koalas and animals of Australia. I learned that koalas are marsupials (mar-soup-ee-als,) which means they have a pouch, like kangaroos. Wanna hear something really interesting that I bet you never knew? Thought so. Koalas pouches are upside down, so that when they dig, they will not get their babies full of dirt. When the babies are first born, the way they hold on inside upside down pouch is by latching on to the mommy’s milk. Isn’t that crazy? Koalas are so cute.
A few other interesting fact about koalas:
- They sleep 18-24 hours a day
- They live about 10 years
- They have two thumbs on both hands!!!!!!
- The way you know the males from females are that the males have big heads, are larger and have a darker spot on their chests, which they rub on trees to mark their territory
- When the koalas are sick and get cared for, the volunteers mark them on their ears. The males get marked on their left ear and the females get marked on the right ear, because they say
the females are always right(:dad did that:)
The second creature I saw today was a Flying Fox. I’ll bet you’re thinking, “what in the world is a flying fox?”. I thought that too, when I first heard about them, but then I got to see them in real life. They are so cute. They are actually bats with the face of a fox. They are either the color of my hair (which is red, if you are reading this and have never met me) or black. Their bodies are about the same size as a cat and their wing span is about the size of a small owl. When they hang upside down, like a bat, they literally take their wing and wrap it around itself to make it dark during the day and to use it like a blanket. Think about wrapping your arm around yourself. That seems strange, doesn’t it? They are nocturnal, which means they are usually only awake at night, but we saw them flying around in the daytime. Awesome!
The koalas made me really, really sad, because we knew that some of them were sick and also happy, because they are so adorable. The bats gave me energy and made me want to fly! Speaking of flying, I am going to Papua New Guinea tomorrow!