Koalas/ Koala Bears

Koala, Baby Koalas, Photos of Koalas, Picture of a Koala

Koalas/ Koala bears are one of the cutest of all the Australian Animals. Most travellers want to cuddle a Koala and that is certainly possible in some wildlife parks.

Whilst I have called this page "Koala Bears"(because that is what most tourists think they are called) please note - their official name is "KOALA" As you will see below, they are not a bear but a MARSUPIAL.

I wouldn’t attempt cuddling a koala in the wild though as they can be extremely viscous when they want to be!

Usually when they have been woken up from their precious sleep. As sleep is what these animals just love to do... find out just how long they sleep and other great information below....

What Is A Koala? How Can Koalas In Hot Weather Survive

The official name for the Koala/ Koala Bears is actually just “Koala”. This animal has nothing to do with the bear species but because it looks a bit like a teddy bear, its name has stuck.

The word “Koala” supposedly comes from the latin or greek or aboriginal word, (depending on what story you listen to,) meaning “doesn’t drink”

These cute animals don’t need any water to survive. They live solely off eucalyptus leaves which offer enough moisture for them to survive. They will drink water if they are ill but they get 90% of their fluids through the leaves. This is why Koalas can survive in the hot weather.

What Do Koalas Eat?

The Koala/ Koala Bears are fussy eaters and whilst there are other leaves that they will eat, it is mainly the Eucalyptus leaf that they adore. There are also lots of different types of Eucalyptus trees and some Koalas favour some over others.

So those in the South would hate living in the north for example as the leaf would taste totally different.

Koala/Koala Bear Habitat

Koalas live high up in the Eucalyptus trees. They also have their own patch which they share with other Koalas in their gang. This is known as their "Home Range."

They stick within their territory and dislike newcomers. Their home range can be a number of trees in a distinct area that has enough food for them to survive. Their patch generally overlaps with another gang. These are highly interactive and important trees for the Koala Bears.

An Interesting Fact About Koala Bear /Koala

Koala Bears have large sharp claws to enable them to live, sleep and eat high up in the eucalyptus trees.

Their paws almost look like fingers and they have special pads on the palms and soles that help them to grip.

Baby Koalas And Koala Bear Poo

Koalas are also marsupials meaning they carry their young in a pouch. The baby, (called a joey) is only tiny when it is born and climbs into its mother’s pouch.

It stays there for 6 months and suckles on one of its two teats. After this time, the joey spends some time out of the pouch. It’s mother also gives it fluid which helps to deactivate the toxic component of the eucalyptus leaf. This means that the joey will be able to digest the leaves eventually. The best way for her to do this is through her own poo. So this means that the baby koalas actually eat their Mother's poo from about 6 months of age - how lovely!

Protecting Koala Bears / Is The Koala Endangered? What Is The Koala Population

These days it is estimated that the Koala population is less than 100,000 in Australia. Whilst the Australian government has not classed them as an endangered species, the US government has.

European settlement has led to the decimation of nearly 80% of the Eucalyptus trees. The remaining 20% tend not to be protected and are on privately owned land. This puts the poor Koala at risk of extinction in the years to come.

The recent bushfires in Victoria, Australia caused the devastation of many habitats for Koalas/ Koala Bears and continue to be an ongoing threat for these animals.

Road accidents and injury from dogs and cats are reducing numbers too.

The disease chlamydia affects nearly 50% of the species and has similar consequences as it does in humans. It can lead to infertility and even blindness.

Sam the Bushfire Koala

Sam was probably the most famous Australian Koala. He was rescued by a firefighter in the 2009 Victorian Bushfires and was pictured around the world taking water from him. You can see the video footage below.

He sadly died in August 2009 from Chlamydia.

Where To See Koalas In Australia

Whilst you are very likely to see a Kangaroo on your travels, you have to look a bit harder to find a Koala in the wild.

There are certain places however where you are likely to find them more than others. For example, there are no Koalas in Tasmania, The Northern Territory or Western Australia.

There are some great places where you can see Koala bears in the wild. You’ll still need to look carefully though as they manage to blend in with the tree’s bark very well indeed.

Kangaroo Island – there is a Koala walk where you are guaranteed to see lots of Koalas. Click here for more information on Kangaroo Island.

The Great Ocean Drive – After Anglesea keep looking up into the trees and if you see people parked up on the side of the road looking up, stop the car as they have more than likely spotted some Koalas. From Apollo Bay the road takes you inland on the outskirts of the Otway National Park.

If you are yet to see any Koalas, look for the turn off for the camping ground. At the camping ground itself, you may see Koalas. Best time is however early morning or late evening.

Click here for more information on Great Ocean Drive near Melbourne.

Magnetic Island in QL – Go to the Northeast corner of the island and look up into the gum trees. You are very likely to see Koalas here. Click here for more information on Magnetic Island.

If you aren’t planning a trip to the above two places then your next best thing is to find a Koala sanctuary. Here are my top recommendations

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Just outside Brisbane

The Koala Reserve, Philip Island On the drive between Sydney and Melbourne but near enough to Melbourne to allow a daytrip

And if you can’t make it there, then head to a wildlife park where you are sure to find Koalas

Australia Zoo Steve Irwin’s zoo and an hour from Brisbane. You can pay an additional $30 to cuddle one and have your photograph taken

Australia walkabout wildlife Park Calga, 1 hour from Sydney towards Newcastle

Featherdale Wildlife Park A great stop off on the way to the Blue Mountains nr Sydney

Taronga Zoo Offers great harbour views in Sydney

Adelaide Zoo

Perth Zoo

Cairns Zoo They have a night zoo experience which is a great way to see Koalas.

Click here for more Koala Facts

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