Keepers at Longleat are using a cuddly toy koala to help weigh their baby joey. The seven-month-old female marsupial is the first southern koala to have been born in Europe.

They say weight is a key indicator of a koala’s health and each animal has to be weighed weekly to ensure they’re in top condition.

This Is Wiltshire:

To make the process as stress-free as possible, they have now added a soft toy koala to the weighing basket.

Jon Ovens, who is one of the keepers at the park said: “Koalas’ diet consists entirely of eucalyptus leaves so keeping a close eye on their weight helps us make sure they are eating enough, and their digestive systems are in order.

“As well as helping us to monitor her condition, the weekly weigh-in also helps her to get used to our presence and allows us to give her an overall health check.”

Koalas give birth after around a month-long pregnancy. The joey is born blind, hairless and about the same size as a jellybean. Within minutes, the baby is able to find its way into its mother’s pouch.

This Is Wiltshire:

As it continues to grow and develop, the joey will then leave the pouch and explore.