Koalas are Not Bears Kids – Fact!

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What is a Koala? It’s Definitely Not a Bear

At first appearance, the koala looks like a small gray and white bear which is why you hear some people calling them “Koala Bears.” However, the koala is not a bear. The koala is a herbivorous marsupial.

Being a marsupial the koala is more closely related to a kangaroo than a bear, however, their closest relation is the ground dwelling wombat.

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The koala’s fur is an ash and gray colour with tufts of white and brown; they are a solidly built, stout looking animal like a child’s teddy bear ranging in weight from 7-10 kilograms.

Fun Koala Fact

The name “Koala” comes from the Australian Aboriginal term meaning “no drink” as Koalas get almost all of their water needs from the Eucalyptus leaves they consume.

Where Do Koalas Live?

Koala Reserve Hawks Nest NSW
A Koala Reserve at Hawks Nest New South Wales 1 hour north of Newcastle at Port Stephens where there’s a large Koala population. We’ve seen quite a few ourselves.

Koalas live in various locations and climates in Australia. They inhabit coastal eucalypt forests and further inland where gum trees are abundant.

Geographically koalas can be found as far north as the tropics in the far north of Queensland of Australia, West and Central Queensland, the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast, down the East Coast of New South Wales to the cooler climates of Victoria and the south eastern parts of South Australia and some Islands.

A Koalas home includes lots of eucalyptus (gum) trees. These trees supply the koala with meals, refuge and areas for social contact that may help it for the duration of its normal existence.

Koalas Social Interaction

Koalas spend only between 5-20 minutes a day on mixing with others and are mostly solitary creatures. Male koalas tend to be more transient moving from location to location while female koalas prefer to stay put in their preferred place.

Dominant larger male koalas will establish a territory close to female koalas, especially when it’s time for breeding. Males mark their territory by rubbing their chests against the base of trees, and other koalas will sniff the foundation of a tree before scaling it.

Male koalas can sometimes be heard emitting a low pitched, bellow and grunting sound, this often occurs during mating season, when other males pose a threat or when they’re claiming a new tree. Females also bellow but at a distinctly lower tone, babies tend to squeak.

Squabbles between koalas can occur when passing each other or be scaling around trees which at times can involve biting.

Where to See Koalas in The Wild

If you see a yellow road sign with a Koala on it, it means that Koalas are known to cross the road here. Please slow down and be alert. Thousands of Koalas are killed each year by cars.

If you see a yellow road sign with an image of a Koala on it, they’re bound to be around. We’ve seen them ourselves at Hawks Nest Tea Gardens in NSW, One Mile Beach at Anna Bay in NSW and Noosa Heads on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

Baby Koalas are called Joeys

A baby koala, like a kangaroos baby, is called a “joey” once they’re born joeys head towards their mother’s pouch where they’re protected and fed. They don’t emerge from their mothers pouch for around 20 weeks.

Joeys continue to feed off their mothers until they’re a year old at which time they separate and find their own way. When born baby koalas are around an inch long and pink in colour, shaped like a jelly bean.


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Picture of Koalas

The featured image of the two Koalas on this page was taken by Matt Dobson at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo. The photograph is of two juvenile males


Gear Used:

Camera Settings:

  • focal length 200mm
  • Shutter Speed 1/200 sec
  • Aperture f2.8
  • iso 1100
  • Handheld

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