• Ian


Updated: Feb 13

Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) is an iconic Australian marsupial.

Unlike its closest living relative, the wombat, the koala is tree dwelling. It is most active at night, sleeping during the day, leading to the false belief that the animal is lazy, just hanging around during the day sleeping.

They are very dexterous, easily moving through the trees, jumping from branch to branch, clutching the branches with their strong and sharp claws. They tend to only come down from the trees when necessary.

Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)
Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)

They eat a range of leaves usually from eucalypts trees but not exclusively. Their favourite food tree at Istari is the red forest gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis) but this changes from location to location according to the availability of food trees. They have also been known to eat casuarinas and paperbark leaves as well although we haven't seen that here.

Forest red gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis) is a tall (50m) smooth bark tree favoured by koalas for food.
Forest red gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis)

They carry their young, called joeys, in their pouch until about six to seven months when they get too big for it. After this they are often carried on their mother's back as they continue to provide milk until about twelve months old. In addition to the milk the mothers also produce a faecal pap from predigested leaves and feed this to the joey. This prepares the youngster for its adult diet of leaves.

Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)