Brief Overview: The Koala, or otherwise known as, Koala bear, is a name that means “no water” from the language, Dharug gula. That is a language that belongs to the original natives of Australia, which is where the koala bear resides. The koala bear’s scientific name is known as, “phascolarctos cinereus” that means‘ash grey pouched bear.’
Species and Appearance: There are currently 3 living species of koala: The Brown Koala, the Gray Koala, and the Gray Brown Koala. A koala is typically 2-3 feet tall when they are fully grown, and their average length is between 27-36 inches in length. The weight of a koala usually depends on the species and where they live. For an average adult, the animal can weigh about 12 – 33 pounds. Female koalas typically weigh less, and are a bit smaller than the males, measuring 10 – 22 pounds. These weights vary in between species. Average northern koalas weigh about 10 -19 pounds while the southern koalas, typically, weigh about 15-29 pounds and are 30% larger than their northern counterparts.
Habitats and Locations: The koala has been known to live in the eastern, and southeastern, areas of Australia. Their habitats are located in Victoria, Queensland State, South Australia, New South Wales. The koala is known to be found in the tall, open, eucalyptus forests, also known as gum trees, and is the only place they live near in the wild.
Survival and Behavior: All koalas are known to have thick woolly fur that protects them from high and low temperatures. Physically, they almost look the same except for their fur color and size. Their bodies are well suited for living in the eucalyptus trees and have been known to be master climbers. Their skin has a tough texture on the soles of their feet and are equipped with long claws, both front and hind paws, for strong grips around the branches. The koala also has strong muscles in their thighs that support their bodies when climbing. The thick fur on their bottoms has a special pad called cartilaginous. This is to help cushion the animal’s positions at the base of their spines so they can sit comfortably on the tree’s branches for hours without any trouble. Koalas are nocturnal, meaning they sleep in the day, and are active at night. However, they have been known to sleep during the night sometimes as koalas typically sleep for about 18-20 hours a day, depending on the species. Koalas have been known to have poor eyesight, so they always rely on their other senses, such as hearing and smelling, to help them detect any incoming danger, around the area. They are gifted with a keen sense of smell so sensitive it helps to find other koalas along with their favorite food tree. They are social animals, meaning they always live together in groups and are rare to migrate which makes them highly territorial of their homes.
Diet and Predators: Koala’s are herbivores meaning they strictly eat plants. Their main diet is eating the leaves off the eucalyptus tree that makes up its home; these leaves are known as eucalyptus leaves. A koala’s natural predators range include wild dogs, dingoes, and monitor lizards. When koalas are up in their trees, they are safe from the ground predators. However, they are able to be attacked by winged predators such as large owls and wedge-tailed eagles. There are even snakes, like the python, that would devour koala as its prey when it slithers up the trees.
Breeding and Lifespan: A koalas’ mating season starts from August to February and causes the animal to become more active than normal. When the breeding starts, the female koalas are pregnant for 30-36 days and they usually breed one baby each year. However, they are slow breeders and some females may not produce for 2-3 years. When they do, baby koalas are known as joeys and they crawl inside of their mother’s pouch right after they are born. They are incredibly tiny, only two centimeters long, and stay in the pouch for six months being nursed by the mother’s teat until they are developed. Joeys are born underdeveloped, meaning they have no hair or ears and are blind. In the wild Koalas can live up to 13-18 years, but in captivity they can live for more than 18 years with one reaching 25 years.