10 Interesting Facts About Koalas
Koalas are territorial and solitary animals, they live and travel within a network of overlapping home ranges. Their home range will consist of their favourite food trees and mates to breed with. It’s vital for their survival these areas are maintained.
This can vary depending on food availability and threats in their environment.
Koalas are mostly nocturnal. However, they can be seen moving during the day if they are disturbed, get too hot or cold, or need to find a new tree, so it is always important to watch out for them when you are driving and be sure to always keep your dog on a lead when walking near bushland.
Koala joeys get the bacteria they need to digest eucalyptus leaves by eating a special poo from their mother called ‘faecal pap’ around the time of emergence from the pouch. Pap feeding is of crucial importance to the growth of their immune system.
Despite their incredible digestive system, koalas only absorb around 25% of the nutrients from the eucalyptus leaves they eat. So they need to eat a lot of leaves!
The breeding season in Southeast Queensland is from around August to February.
The easiest way to identify the sex of an adult koala is to look at its chest. Male koalas have a dark brown scent gland in the middle of their chest and female koalas have a plain white chest. The male’s scent gland produces a strong-smelling oily substance that can be rubbed against trees to act as a marker for other koalas.
A common misconception is that koalas sleep because they are intoxicated from the eucalyptus they eat. They sleep so much because the leaf gives them very little energy.
Environmental stressors such as habitat loss, dogs, traffic, and noise pollution can cause an increase in symptoms for koalas with chlamydia. In some parts of Australia, chlamydia infection in koalas is as high as 90%.
As of February 2022, the Australian Government has declared the koala an endangered species in Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.
Ways you Can Help Koalas
Due to habitat loss, koalas are more likely to move through developed areas to find food trees or mates. They have to cross roads and move through properties making them vulnerable to many threats.