How to tell male from female koalas. Part 1: Scent gland

Prof Koala Clancy here to educate you all about koalas!

You’ve no doubt heard that male koalas have a scent gland: a dark-edged bare patch on our chests. But there is a lot of confusion about what a koala scent gland looks like.

Look at these two photographs. Both are adult males with fully-formed scent glands. Its pretty obvious isn’t it?

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This is Winberry, the dominant male. He is at least 12 years old now.

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Then look at this image below. This is a female, and that crease on her chest is not a scent gland – its just a crease in the fur. Notice it has no brown colouring at all, and there’s no stain down her belly. 

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Got that? Great. Now I’m going to throw a spanner in the works!

Male scent glands take years to form. So when a koala is young, it can be hard to tell male from female. Getting confusing? No worries, I’m explaining it all in How to tell male from female koalas: Part 2.

Keep learning about koalas from Koala Clancy: facebook.com/koalaClancy and koalaclancyfoundation.org.au

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