Koalas are marsupials, closer related to wombats and kangaroos.
As marsupials, female koalas have pouches where their young stay until fully developed. Unlike kangaroo pouches, which open towards the top, koala pouches are located towards the bottom of their bodies and open outward.
Extra thick fur on their bottoms and a cartilaginous pad at the base of their spines provide cushioning so koalas can sit comfortably on branches for hours.
Koalas have bacteria in their stomachs that break down the fiber and toxic oils of eucalyptus leaves and allow them to absorb 25% of the nutrients.
In order to survive on such a low calorie diet, they conserve energy by moving slowly and sleeping around 20 hours a day.
Say hello to Billy and Rico, the two meerkat babies born on February 27. Photo by Laura Horn, courtesy of Memphis Zoo.
Two meerkat pups were born on February 27 to first-time mother Sunny at the Memphis Zoo. The babies, named Billy and Rico, are both male.
“It’s really adorable to see how the whole group takes care of the young meerkats,” said Melanie Lewis, Cat Country keeper. “The visitors love them as well. They’re front and center in the exhibit. They’re not shy at all.”
Lincoln Park Zoo is celebrating the birth of a female baby klipspringer (Afrikaans for “rock jumper”) on March 30.
According to Curator of Mammals, Mark Kamhout, “The klipspringer calf is healthy and eating well and, as a result, has almost doubled her weight since birth. Currently, the calf is being hand-reared by our animal care staff after the mother was unable to provide adequate care.”
The team will provide around-the-clock care for the little antelope until she is ready to navigate the terrain of the klipspringer habitat.
Watch a video of the baby klipspringer here:
In the wild, klipspringers inhabit central and eastern Africa. They are dwarf antelope, reaching an average of 24 pounds.
Discovery Cove in Orlando welcomed a female dolphin calf on March 18 at 3:45 am. The calf weighs about 22 kg (48 lbs.) and is 1.2 m (47 in.) long. The baby dolphin is doing well, nursing and bonding with her mother Natalie.
The baby female dolphin born at Discovery Cove is doing well, bonding with mother Natalie. Photo by Discovery Cove.
On March 12, Imani, an 18-year-old gorilla at the San Diego Zoo, gave birth to a 4.6 pound baby via caesarian section. The infant was treated for pneumonia and other complications after birth at the animal hospital.
But 12 days later, baby and mama were reunited! Imani immediate cradled her baby in her arms and has been doting on the newborn ever since.
In this photo taken on Monday, March 24, 2014, and provided by the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, a 12-day old baby gorilla is physically introduced to her mother, Imani, for the first time at the San Diego Zoo. (AP Photo/San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Matt Gelvin)
The baby elephant born on March 4 at Twycross Zoo is now on view! Photo by Twycross Zoo.
The Twycross Zoo welcomed a baby Asian elephant on March 4! The healthy female calf will nurse 11 liters (~3 gallons) of milk a day from her mother Noorjahan until she is 12 months old.
Dr. Charlotte Macdonald, Head of Life Sciences, said: “The calf was born at approximately 2.30am and was up on its feet after a matter of minutes. The infant has bonded very well with mum, who is doing an exceptional job of taking care of her.”
Sarah Chapman, Head of Veterinary Services, added: “The herd’s behaviour was monitored by the vet and animal teams via CCTV, and it was good to see that all members of the herd were very excited by the new arrival and very interested in the infant. All the females continue to take a huge interest in the calf and are very protective of her. This is perfectly natural, with Aunties playing a very important ‘babysitting’ role in the natural herd structure.”
The IUCN lists the Asian elephant as endangered. In the wild, they live in fragmented populations in various countries across southeast Asia. Their population has been dramatically reduced and the quality of habitat is declining.
A fossil of a small tyrannosaur that lived 70 million years ago was recently discovered in northern Alaska. The pygmy dinosaur, called Nanuqsaurus hoglundi (which means “polar bear lizard”), is believed to be a close relative of Tyrannosaurus Rex.
N. hoglundi was much smaller than the T. Rex. Its skull measures 25 inches as compared to the T. Rex‘s 60-inch skull. Researchers have postulated that the pygmy tyrannosaur’s smaller stature was an adaptation to the cooler Arctic climate. Although the Arctic would have been much warmer in the Cretaceous Period than it is today, bouts of cold temperatures would have caused variations in the food supply.
Below is an illustration of the relative size of N. hoglundi (A) as compared to its larger cousin T. Rex (B and C). Although N. hoglundi was only about half the size of the T. Rex, it still was an impressive 23 feet from head to tail.
Nanuqsaurus hoglundi (A) as compared to T. Rex (B and C) and other species. The scale bar equals 1 meter. Courtesy PLoS.