Koala Facts

There are some interesting Australian koala facts.

The most popular of Australian animals, koalas are found in eucalypt forests.

They look different in north and south because of the climate: the southern individuals are much larger and have thicker and longer fur to keep them warm in the cold weather. But despite the different appearances, they are all the same species: Phascolarctos cinereus

A Koala Bear Clings to a Eucalyptus Tree in Eastern Australia
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Where Do Koalas Live?
Koala’s closest relative is wombat - another great example of unique Australian animals. While wombat lives on the ground, koala developed into a tree-dweller, but both kept their backwards pouch. Koala is the only surviving member of the family Phascolarctidae.

A Portrait of a Koala
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Koala Facts: What Do They Eat
You probably know that koala is a very sleepy animal, but why? It’s because it eats eucalypt leaves which are toxic and very low in nutrients. It uses a lot of energy detoxifying the leaves and sleeps 20 hours a day. This leaves it with only four hours for eating, and mate, there is no time to waste – it has to eat more than one kilogram of leaves a day to satisfy its energy needs. It doesn’t eat leaves of all eucalypts (there are 900 species of Eucalyptus in Australia and many Australian animals only live in Eucalypt forests). It has been seen in 120 kinds of eucalypts, but its favourites are blue, manna and swamp gum.

Wild Koala in Eucalyptus Tree, Great Ocean Road, Great Otway National Park, Victoria, Australia
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Koala Facts: Breeding
Koala is a solitary and territorial animal with a territory up to three hectares. A mature male dominates the territory, which also includes several females and younger males. Koalas are not dangerous animals, but male koalas do defend their territory.

Koala Resting in a Tree (Phascolarctos Cinereus), Australia
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Koala Facts: Babies
A female gives birth to one young 35 days after fertilisation. After five months in the pouch, the young is ready for outside world but travels on its mother’s back for the first 12 months. After two years, young males take off to find their own territory.

A Koala Bear Hugs a Tree While Her Baby Clings to Her Back
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Is Koala Endangered?
Koalas were killed in large numbers in the 1800s when their skins were sold to England and the USA. Today the populations can locally be endangered in places, but generally it is considered to be a secure species. The image on the poster below was taken during the devastating 2009 Victoria bushfires when a firefighter found a koala that had survived. A video and the photos of him giving her water from his water bottle became world famous and so did the koala that was named Sam.

Firefighter Shares His Water an Injured Australian Koala after Wildfires Swept Through the Region
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Where to See Koala in Australia
Good places to see koalas in the wild are Magnetic Island and Noosa National Park in Queensland, Blue Mountains and Myall Lakes National Park in New South Wales, the Grampians and Wilsons Promontory in Victoria, and Kangaroo Island in South Australia.

Head Keeper at Sydney's Koala Park Holds 'Kamara' and Her Two One Year-Old Babies
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Zoo Parks
You can also visit one of Australia’s many animal sanctuaries and zoo parks: Melbourne Zoo in Melbourne, Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast, Billabong Sanctuary south of Townsville and Kuranda Wildlife Noctarium north of Cairns to name a few. It is popular amongst tourists to get a photo taken with the cuddliest animal in Australia.


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