Koalas do not fly like birds

Koalas are generally quite docile animals.

It is not unusual to see them sitting or dozing up in a eucalypt tree. They prefer not to be on the ground as they probably feel most vulnerable there. When on the ground they are often quite slow moving.

Imagine my surprise then, to see a koala RUNNING across the freeway last week on my way to Adelaide. In fact, it was surprising that the poor creature was not killed. A six-lane freeway with a concrete barrier in the middle is not the place for a Koala. The transport authorities have placed many weld-mesh “ladders” over this barrier at regular intervals every few metres to assist the Koalas crossing the road. It is pleasing to see that not many koalas actually do get hit. Considering all of this then, it is a pity that Koalas cannot fly like birds; the freeway would not be such a barrier to them then.

I’ve only witnessed two interactions between birds and Koalas over the years. The first was on the Mornington Peninsula south east of Melbourne. A Koala was asleep in a tree. A honeyeater (I forget the species) was busily collecting the Koala’s fur and taking it to line its nest. As it picked each beak full, it looked like the honeyeater had whiskers!

Koala and Magpie

Koala and Magpie

The other incident is shown in the photo above. This sleepy Koala was being harassed by the Magpie for having the temerity to be in its territory. The photo was taken in the Wittunga Botanic Gardens in the Adelaide Hills.

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6 Responses to “Koalas do not fly like birds”

  1. kasia says:

    Trevor those intermittent and irregularly placed mesh
    ‘ladders’ are a sad joke only a dim witted human could have thought up for the Koalas..
    actually afterthought is a more fitting word.
    I’d love to have seen some kind of bridges built over the busy freeway specifically for them so they didn’t have to go anywhere near the roads. Maybe they’d use them maybe not,I’m no expert on Koala behaviour and perhaps experts
    were consulted but somehow I doubt it.
    Nice little article Trevor, I’ve enjoyed
    looking over your blog space today and stoked I stumbled over it after googling for info on the Triller, you’re inspiring. 🙂

  2. Trevor says:

    Thanks for that Kasia. I hope it shows that I am passionate about birds. And a lot of other things too.

  3. kasia says:

    You’re so welcome and yes it’s obvious you’re a man
    of many passions, wonderful to know there
    are people like you in the world.
    Keep up the great work. 🙂

  4. Trevor says:

    I will try my best – just to entertain others like yourself with a similar passion.

  5. Raelene says:

    Hi Trevor, I no this was some time ago, but I am wondering where these wire crossings are and if they are still there!

  6. Trevor says:

    Hi Raelene,

    Sorry about the delay in responding – I’ve been busy completing my degree.

    I’ve driven that way quite a few times in recent weeks and have forgotten to check out the “ladder” for the koalas. If my memory is correct they are mainly from the Stirling ramps down to near the Toll Gate – where there is a concrete barrier between the up lanes and the down lanes. Further east there is no barrier but a wide grassed verge between the up and down tracks. They are not easy to see as the blend into the colour of the concrete, and I guess they’d be hard for a koala to find.

    Sadly, a few weeks ago I saw a dead koala on the road side near the tunnels on the up track.

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