Koala Social Structure
Koala social organization
Koalas are often thought to be extremely lazy animals. Since they have a slow rate of metabolism, they tend to do nothing for close to 18-22 hours a day. A great deal of that time is spent sleeping. They like to be left alone other than when they care for their young. Most people think of the Koala as a simple and calm creature.
However, they are noted as being very aggressive to each other. They don’t like others invading their territory. As a result, it can be very hard for the young to find their own space out there. They might bite each other and they are often seen in small squabbles.
For the young offspring, the females will part ways from the mother when they are around a year of age. Newly weaned at that point in time they have a difficult road on their own if they haven’t been taught what to do. For the males, they usually will stay around the mother until they are close to two years of age.
What is interesting is that the Koalas live close to each other by choice. With only one of them in a tree other than moms with babies, they will be close neighbors. However, they do like to be isolated as much as possible. When there are few Koalas in an area and lots of trees they will still stay very close to each other. It is believed that they find comfort in that presence.
For the most part the social interactions among Koalas will occur while they are looking for food. When there is more than enough to go around it seems that they don’t mind feeding at the same location as others. In fact, they tend to enjoy the brief encounters and then they go their separate ways.
During the daylight hours the Koala tends to hide in the trees. There are several reasons for this. First, they can avoid various predators that way. Second, their bodies can lose moisture fast in the hot Australian sunlight. They need to maintain their moisture so they will find shady places where they can be as protected as possible.
There are many different types of calls that the Koala can make in order to effectively communicate. They can force the sounds to travel long distances so they can attract mates that way. They use low bellowing as a way to get attention. They also use growling to show aggression and to give warnings when they want to be left alone.
In order for mothers to communicate with their young, they often use clicking sounds that are very low. This is a gentle way for them to express their bond with their child as well as to teach them what they need to know for the best chance of survival.
When a Koala makes a high pitch scream that is a red flag to all in the area that there is danger. They may become frantic due to the additional stress and even start to shake violently. This is a behavior when the Koalas do feel the need to find comfort from others being around them. They can make various sounds to each other to offer comfort until the fear has subsided.
The form of non verbal communication that they use is to mark the trees with their scent. The males have larger scent glands that allow them to release more of it. This makes sense because they are more aggressive. The social structure of the Koala is one that is complex and interesting. The more you view these animals in a natural setting the more you can see their own distinct needs emerging.