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  • Monday 20th August 2018
  • Koala, Wildlife

Koala Smiling

Koalas are often referred to as ‘koala bears’, but did you know that they are not bears at all. Koalas are actually marsupials, which mean they give birth to highly underdeveloped young which they suckle in a pouch on their mother’s belly. A baby koala, or joey, is around 2cm long when they are born, they are furless and their eyes and ears are still closed. They spend the first 5-7 months of their lives in their mum’s pouch before emerging. Once they emerge, they will stay close to their mother for a while before finding a new home range.

Read on to learn more fun facts about koalas…


1) Sleeping Beauties 

Koalas love their sleep! They can sleep between 18 – 22 hours a day and are usually more active at night. They live on a diet purely of eucalyptus leaves and can eat up to approximately 400g of leaves a day, which is a huge amount for their size. The reason they spend most of their time sleeping is because it requires a lot of energy to digest the toxic, fibrous, low nutritional eucalyptus leaves. They also get all the moisture they need from the leaves they eat, meaning they rarely have to come to the ground to drink.


2) Thumbs Up, or Four!

Koalas have 4 thumbs, with 2 on each front paw. These additional thumbs help koalas to hold their food as well as making them expert tree climbers.

Depending on where koalas live, they have different types of fur. Koalas that live in southern Australia have darker, thicker fur to help keep them warm in the cooler climate. Whereas koalas in warmer climates tend to have lighter, thinner coasts to cope with the warm temperatures.


3) Koala-ty Talk

Koalas communicate by ‘bellowing’. Bellows might often be mistaken for snores or even belches; however, this is the unique way that koalas talk to one another. Koalas are known to have one of the loudest vocalisations of all mammals in Australia and male koalas use deep bellows to show their dominance.


4) A Declining Population

While the koala population is difficult to calculate, they are a species in decline. Habitat destruction means these iconic Australian animals are under threat. The biggest modern-day problems are expanding agricultural practices and urban development, which is resulting in the decline of the koalas’ habitats (as well as for many other native Australian animals too).


5) Home Sweet Home

Koalas live in a ‘home range’, which consists of several ‘home’ trees that a koala visits regularly, both eucalypt and non-eucalypt. The size of each home range depends on the quality of the habitat that koalas require to sustain their unique lifestyle and can be up to 1.5 hectares in size. When young koalas become independent and they leave their mothers, they will travel to find their own home range, as well as a mate along the way.


Each of our koalas here at WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo has their own unique personality, get to know our cute koalas before you visit. 


Want a unique koala experience? Why not enjoy a hot buffet breakfast with the koalas, plus get up close for a special photo opportunity.