Australia’s cute fur balls have often been studied in order to find out what’s exactly going on between them when the lights go out. Are they as lazy and slow paced, or do they turn into something else during the mating period? Thanks to extensive research and the tracking technology, now we know more about koalas’ mating rituals, and what exactly goes on in their private lives.
Finding the perfect mate
Koalas’ mating time is in spring and in summer, which is in October and November, as they live in the Southern hemisphere, and that’s when late spring and early summer is. They use this period to find a mate, and in order to succeed they have several things they do. Koalas’ mating rituals are quite interesting. Males try to advertise themselves by spreading their sent all-around, and by making sounds, known as bellowing, which they use as a means to reach out to a female.
Who picks the mate?
What they do next is try to find a female territory – which is a territory where a group of female koalas are staying – and try to find a mate there.
There were many stereotypes about koalas’ mating rituals, which have now been debunked. It was previously thought that males were the ones who picked their mate, and the biggest and toughest males were the ones to get all the females. This turned out to be false. It’s actually the females who decide with which koala they are going to mate. They do the picking mostly by the male’s bellows, which help them choose a unique mate for themselves.
Their anatomy is another part that makes them so different. The interesting thing is that the males have a two-prolonged penis, and the females have two vaginal openings. The female koalas also have a third vaginal opening that opens up only when she’s giving birth, and closes back up again.
If you’re interested in learning more crazy and bizarre facts about the animal kingdom, be sure to check out this article on snake orgies, and their mating rituals.
Koalas’ mating ritual
This part can get a little rough at times, as the process can involve biting and even scratching. Koala’s mating ritual quite often involves physical strength. The male may sometimes even try to force the female to mate with him. This is unsuccessful most of the times, as the female will do all she can to get out of such a situation if she is not interested in the male koala.
The birth of the Joey
After the koalas’ mating ritual is over, it takes up to 35 days for the female to give birth. The males don’t tend to the young. They just go on with their lives, and may reproduce one or two more times the same season. The female usually gives birth to one baby, called a Joey. The Joey is only an inch tall and unable to tend for itself. The Joey is also born hairless, blind and deaf. What he’s only able to do is use all the strength he has to crawl into his mother pouch. There he feeds from his mother until he’s old enough to join the rest of the world.
Raising the little Joey
Once the Joey crawls into his mother’s pouch, he attaches himself to a nipple and stays put for about 6 months. During those 6 months he only drinks his mother’s milk. After the period of 6 months ends, his mother begins feeding him with semi-digested leaves, which she excretes herself. He even starts leaving the pouch for a short period of time. This period lasts only up to 11 months, as after that he’s no longer allowed in, and has to live outside permanently.
Their life after mating season
Once the mating part is over, the male and female koalas go off on their own. These marsupials are very solitary animals and their territories rarely overlap. Their interactions increase only in mating season, but not a lot. After the mating season is over, they go back to their regular lazy way of life, which includes sleeping for 18 to 22 hours a day, and eating eucalyptus. Just when you thought you were lazy…