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the koala lives in south australia, victoria, new  south wales,  tasmania and queensland

The Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) is a solidly built arboreal marsupial herbivore native to Australia, contrary to popular misconception it is NOT a koala bear, and in no way even related to any bears, even many Aussies don't even know this and refer to this animal as a koala bear !

The koala lives in the coastal regions of eastern and southern Australia, from Adelaide to the southern part of Cape York Peninsula, and also on coastal islands like Kangaroo Island and Magnetic Island, but not in Tasmania and Western Australia
They also live further inland in regions with enough moisture to support suitable eucalypt woodlands.


The koalas of South Australia nearly disappeared during the early part of the 20th century due to hunting for their fur, then known as known as Adelaide Chinchilla, but the state has since been repopulated with Victorian koalas.
The name koala comes from the Aboriginal name Dharuk gula. The scientific name Phascolarctos for koala originates from the Greek phaskolos "pouch" and arktos "bear". Its species name, cinereus, is Latin and means "ash-coloured".

Koalas can vary from state to state, the Victorian koala has longer, thicker fur, is a darker, softer grey, often with chocolate-brown highlights on the back and forearms, and has a more prominently light-coloured ventral side and fluffy white ear tufts. A typical New South Wales koala weighs about 12 kg for males and 8.5 kg for females. In Queensland the koala is smaller at around 6.5 kg for an average male and just over 5 kg for an average female and a lighter often rather scruffy grey in colour, and has shorter, thinner fur.

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The origins of the koala are not clear, but most likely they originated from wombat-like animals.
Koala fossils are very rare, but some have been found in northern Australia dating back 20 million years. During this time the northern half of Australia was covered in dense rainforests. The koala specialised in a diet of eucalypts when the climate cooled and eucalyptus forests grew in the place of rainforests. The fossil records show that up to 50,000 years ago, the southern regions of Australia were inhabited by giant koalas.

Koalas that are disturbed can be violent, their teeth and claws quite capable of injuring humans.
In May 2005 Tommy Stephenson was attacked by a koala in Melbourne. The koala had descended from its tree and badly scratched Tommy's leg, who received some bandages and a tetanus shot but was otherwise OK. The koala has large, sharp claws to assist with climbing tree trunks and their five fingers are arranged with opposable thumbs, providing a better grip on the tree. The first two fingers are positioned in apposition on the front paws and the first three fingers for the hind paws. The koala is one of the few mammals (other than primates) that has fingerprints. Koala fingerprints are so similar to human fingerprints that even with a microscope it can be difficult to tell the two apart.
The koala has an unusually small brain, with about 40% of the cranial cavity being filled with fluid, while the brain itself is like "a pair of shrivelled up walnut halves", in contact neither with each other nor the bones of the skull. It is the only animal on Earth (besides Paris Hilton) with such a strangely reduced brain.

 Koala Line up
Koala Line up
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Koalas are generally silent, but males are capable of a very loud mating call that can be heard from almost a kilometre away during the breeding season. When under stress, koalas may produce a loud cry, which sounds similar to a human baby. In captivity they have been observed to live up to 18 years, but not much is known about life expectancy in the wild.
Females reach maturity at 2 to 3 years of age, males at 3 to 4 years. The mating season runs from October to March and a healthy female koala can give birth to one young each year for about 12 years, the gestation period is 35 days.

A baby koala is called a joey and is hairless, blind, and earless. At birth the joey, only about seven millimetre long, crawls into the downward-facing pouch on the mother's belly (which is closed by a drawstring-like muscle that the mother can tighten at will) and attaches itself to one of the two teats. Young remain hidden in the pouch for half a year, feeding on milk only. During this time they grow ears, eyes, and fur. The joey then begins to explore outside of the pouch. At this stage it begins to consume small quantities of the mother’s "pap" (formerly thought to be excrement, but now thought to come from the mother's caecum) in order to inoculate its gut with the microbes necessary to digest eucalypt leaves.
The baby koala will remain with the mother for another half a year, riding on her back and feeding on both milk and eucalypt leaves until they are about one year old. Young females disperse to nearby areas at that time young males often stay in the mother's home range until they are two or three years old.

Koalas spend about three of their five active hours eating. Feeding occurs at any time of day, but usually at night. Koalas will eat the leaves of about 120 out of about 700 different eucalypt types, on average about half to one kilo of eucalypt leaves each day. That was the main reason for a zoo in California to get rid of their koalas, shipping the special Eucalyptus leaves in left the zoo with a $100,000.- a year food bill! To digest this diet of not very nutritious gum leaves they have, for their size, the longest appendix in the world. They usually obtain all their water from the leaves but can drink when they feel the need to. The liver deactivates the toxic components ready for excretion, and the hind gut (especially the caecum) is greatly enlarged to extract the maximum amount of nutrient from the poor diet. Much of this is done through bacterial fermentation: when young are being weaned, the mother passes unusually soft faeces, called pap, which is rich in these bacteria, thus passing these essential digestive aids on to her offspring.

the koala lives in south australia, victoria, new  south wales,  tasmania and queensland

Like wombats and sloths, koalas have a very low metabolic rate for a mammal and they rest motionless for about 18 to 20 hours a day, sleeping most of that time.
It is a wide spread Aussie myth that koalas are always stoned out of their brains from eating eucalyptus leaves and therefore never move, eucalyptus leaves have no intoxicating compounds like marijuana.

In recent years some colonies have been hard hit by disease, especially the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia. Koalas need large areas of forest and will travel long distances along tree corridors in search of new territories and mates. The ever-expanding human population of the coastal parts of the continent continues to cut these corridors by agricultural and residential development, forestry and road-building, isolating koala colonies.

In contrast to the dire situation on much of the mainland where populations are declining, the koalas of many island and isolated populations have reached "plague" proportions.
On Kangaroo Island in South Australia, koalas introduced in the 1920's have thrived in the absence of predators and competition but this has caused the koala populations to become unsustainable and threaten the Island's unique ecology. Especially the Manna Gum trees are being stripped by koalas at a rate faster than they can regenerate, endangering local birds and other animals that rely on them.
Although only about 18 koalas were introduced in the 1920's their numbers on Kangaroo Island are currently estimated at more than 25,000, while it is estimated that 10,000 at most is sustainable.
Culling has been consider by the South Australian Government as a way of reducing koala numbers, but this met with fierce opposition both domestically and internationally, and the koala remains protected. So far sterilisation and translocation programmes have had only limited success in reducing numbers and are an expensive method. Koalas relocated to the mainland have had difficulty establishing themselves in their new environment. Hormonal implants that can be injected via darts are also considered.
Every year thousands of koalas are caught by a team of catchers and put on a chartered plane to Mount Gambier in South Australia..

You can not legally keep a koala as a pet in Australia without a permit.

Koalas normally get all the water they need from the leaves they eat and do not drink, but during Victoria's Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 the heat and drought got that bad that koalas were found drinking from swimming pools and coming to people's houses for a drink and a cooling bath !


koala drinking koala in bath





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