An Iconic Australian Animal: The Koala

The koala is one of the most iconic animals in Australia and has captivated the hearts of many people around the world. It is often mistaken for a bear, but it is in fact a marsupial, meaning the young of the species are born and grow in the safety of their mother’s pouch.

The Joey 

When the joey is born, it is only about two centimeters long, furless, blind, and with no ears. Instinctively, it climbs into the pouch and feeds solely on its mother’s milk for around six months.

At this point, the joey begins to feed on “pap”, a specialized form of droppings that helps it transition from mother’s milk to eucalyptus leaves.

Physical Characteristics

Koalas have five digits on each front paw, two of which are opposed. This arrangement helps them climb and eat on their hind paws. Two of these digits are fused together, forming their grooming claws.

After one to three years, the joey leaves the mother to find its own home range of eucalyptus trees. These trees form the majority of the koala’s diet, and they are able to consume up to a kilogram of leaves each night.


Koalas are nocturnal, sleeping for up to 20 hours each day and reserving all their energy for digesting the fibrous and toxic eucalyptus leaves. They communicate through a variety of sounds, the most common of which is a loud snore, burp, or belch, commonly referred to as a koala’s bellow.


It is relatively easy to identify a male koala, as they have a distinctive scent gland in the middle of their white chest.

Threats to Koalas

Unfortunately, habitat loss is the greatest threat to koalas, due to land clearing for wood, houses, and roads, as well as bushfires. But, with a concerted effort, we can help reduce this threat and give the koalas the future they deserve.

How to Help

One way to help is to plant eucalyptus trees. Planting native species of trees, such as eucalyptus, is essential for koala conservation. These trees provide food, shelter, and habitat for koalas, and can also help to combat climate change. Planting trees is an easy and direct way to create a better future for koalas.

We can all help by reducing our own carbon footprint. Climate change is one of the biggest threats to koalas, as it increases the frequency and severity of bushfires, which can cause devastating losses to koala populations.

Reducing our own carbon emissions can help to mitigate the effects of climate change and make the world a better place for koalas.

We need to spread awareness about koalas and their plight. Most people are not aware of the threats facing koalas, and the more people that know, the more likely they are to take action.

We can share stories and information about koalas on social media and encourage our friends and family to get involved in conservation efforts.

The conservation of koalas is essential to the survival of their species and the maintenance of healthy ecosystems.

We can help ensure that these beautiful animals continue to thrive for generations to come by taking action to protect their habitats and address the threats they face.

You can help protect and care for the Raymond Island koalas by donating an amount of your choice.

Every bit counts!

Donate today