Koala Shows Up With A Surprise For The People Who Saved Her Life Years Ago
"This is something extremely special you never see."
Back in 2013, people spotted something tiny at the base of a tree - or, rather, someone.
A baby koala who would come to be called Nell had been abandoned by her mom at just 6 months old, which is surprising since koalas only have one little baby at a time.
Koala joeys depend on "pap" (which is actually fecal matter produced by their mom). Pap is a crucial part of their diet while they're young so that they can grow into healthy adults capable of digesting eucalyptus leaves.
Motherless Nell needed help to grow up. Thankfully, the people at the Raymond Island Koala and Wildlife Shelter took her in and hand raised her until she was 18 months old, when she was released into the shelter's expansive property, where rescuers could keep their eyes on her.
"She established her territory here at the shelter which is also our home," Susie Pulis, of the shelter, told The Dodo.
Two years later, Nell showed up with a surprise - two of them.
"I discovered Nell was carrying a baby in July, but only discovered she had twins on September 24," Pulis said.
Pulis immediately contacted the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital to discuss the phenomenon. "Koala twins are extremely rare and both don't normally survive," she said.
Based on advice from the hospital, Pulis is watching the growth of the twins closely to make sure that neither Nell nor her babies are struggling. If one of the joeys isn't getting what he needs, Pulis plans to hand raise him, just like she did for his mom.
"I also am supplement feeding Nell with an extra leaf so she doesn't have to use up precious energy climbing around searching for food all the time," Pulis said. "She is eating well in excellent body condition and so far so good."
The twins are approximately 5 months old already. At least one of them is a boy. "The little boy is the bold, adventurous one," Pulis said. "He already climbs out of his mum's pouch. But the little shy one hasn't been out yet."
Pulis is eager to show pictures of the little family to the world. "This is something extremely special you never see," she said.
The Raymond Island Koala and Wildlife Shelter relies on donations to help animals. Click here to learn how you can help.