Koalas might seem prefer lazy marsupials, spending up to 22 hours a work snoozing, yet when it concerns mating these lethargic animals can become vicious.(Image credit: covenant/Shutterstock.com)
With a diet based on eucalyptus leaves that are really fibrous and also low in nutrition and also calories, koalas live a quite lazy life, spending between 18 and also 22 hrs a day asleep. However does this lethargy likewise translate into the bedroom, or carry out koalas maintain an interesting sex life?


Found throughout the eucalypt woodlands of Australia, koalas are quite solitary animals. Each individual sets up a house range, which can span a couple of acres to numerous acres. Despite these home ranges can overlap a bit, the marsupials seldom run into each other. If 2 territorial males perform encounter one another, points can get ugly, but this happens infrequently.

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"The fights the the males have actually are pretty ferocious increase in the trees," said Bill Ellis, a koala researcher v the university of Queensland in Australia. "We think that, by and large, the fighting is a really far-ranging biological occasion for them, and also that"s most likely why they room not for this reason common."

During the adjustment season, which wake up in the spring and also summer, interactions in between the pets do increase, yet not through much, Ellis told Live Science. Throughout this time, particularly at night in between 12 a.m. And also 4 a.m., males do loud adjustment calls, referred to as bellows, while sitting comfortably in their house ranges. The bellows, researchers have found, are developed by a structure in the animal"s larynx, carry out information about the size of the koala and are distinct to each individual.


Scientists as soon as thought the largest, most leading males obtained all the females, who would seek them out by zeroing in on their telltale bellows. However when Ellis and his partner looked in ~ the paternity of newborn joeys in the wild, they discovered that size wasn"t whatever —turns out, the woman koalas mate v a different male each year. "It seems that the females room actually utilizing the bellows come look for a unique mate," Ellis said.


Though it"s not totally clear how things pat out, researchers think when a female hears a bellow she likes, she will go on an excursion to uncover him in his house range. When a masculine finds a mrs in his territory, the will strategy her in a tree, sniffing constantly as he it s okay closer to her.

Researchers don’t know exactly how a mrs decides even if it is or no she"s interested in the male, however she"ll cry the end if she doesn"t desire to mate v him. The male, being much larger, can try to force himself ~ above her, but she"ll bite and also scratch him, rise away and even jump to an additional tree branch. "She"ll do everything in her capacity to disapprove him," Ellis said, including that females appear to refuse males successfully an ext than they expropriate them in the wild.

When a woman does expropriate a male, the pair easily gets to business. "It"s no a specifically gentle process," Ellis said.


The male climbs onto the female from behind, bites the ago of she neck and also briefly copulates v her. Prefer kangaroos and most various other marsupials, masculine koalas have actually a double-headed penis and females have two vaginas (a 3rd birthing vagina later develops to lug the brand-new joey right into the world, and then closes back up).

The female climate returns to her home variety to gestate for a little over a month; she won"t start the mating video game again till her offspring is totally weaned, about 12 month later. The male, ~ above the other hand, might go on come mate again once or twice more that season.

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Joseph Castro
Live scientific research Contributor
Joseph Bennington-Castro is a Hawaii-based contributing writer because that Live Science and Space.com. He holds a master"s degree in science journalism from new York University, and a bachelor"s degree in physics native the college of Hawaii. His work-related covers all areas of science, from the quirky mating behaviors of different animals, come the drug and also alcohol habits of ancient cultures, to brand-new advances in solar cell technology. Top top a more personal note, Joseph has had a near-obsession with video clip games for as lengthy as he have the right to remember, and also is most likely playing a video game at this an extremely moment.