Australian Marsupials - Koala

This Koala seems to be saying "G'day mate" Photo by Agvulpes
This Koala seems to be saying "G'day mate" Photo by Agvulpes

The Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) is a Tree living, plant eating marsupial native to my country Australia and is believed to be the only species still living from the 'Phascolarctidae' family. This is why there is a concerted effort to keep the Koala healthy and able to live in it's native habitat.
The Koala resides mainly on the Southeast coast of Australia and much research is being carried out on these Marsupials in my state of Victoria.

Replenishment stock is being supplied from Victoria to other states such as South Australia where stocks have been depleted for various reasons.

Koala is NOT a Bear

Although often referred to as a 'Koala Bear'. Even though the Koala is a cute and cuddly animal like a Teddy Bear it is not really a bear.
Both animals although classed as 'Mammals' are in different 'families' in the Scientific Classification.
The Koala is classified from the 'Phascolarctos cinereus' Family and the Bear is from the 'Ursidae' Family.

Diet of the Koala

The diet of the Koala is almost entirely confined to the 'leaves' of a specific type of eucalyptus tree which would explain why the Koala mainly inhabits the south eastern areas of Australia. This in itself is a problem for Koalas being held in captivity as the leaves of these eucalyptus trees are not that easy to locate and harvest.

The Koala ( which in the native language means something akin to 'no water' ) is reported to not drink water, although this is in dispute, some people believe that the Koala gets all it's liquid from the food it eats!

Koala mum with Koala Joey poking it's head out of mum pouch.  ack/
Koala mum with Koala Joey poking it's head out of mum pouch. ack/

Fast Facts on the Koala

So now some interesting things about the Koala.

Koalas are Marsupials

A marsupial is a small class of mammals that carry their young in a pouch usually in the tummy region of their body.


It has been discovered that the Koala has fingerprints very similar to Human fingerprints. In fact so alike that some experts cannot say which is human and which is from the Koala.

Thumbs , 2 on each hand

Although it has 5 digits on each 'hand', the same as we humans, a Koala has 2 thumbs on each 'hand'. The thumbs are opposable to make it easier for the Koala to climb trees and sleep in the positions that we humans would find impossible.


Generally the color of the Koala is grey ranging from dark to light grey. However there are variations especially here in Victoria.

We have many Koalas here which range in color from the above mentioned Greys to a chocolate color going from a dark chocolate to 'Golden' shades. Sometimes a Koala will exhibit the whole range with 'Golden Stripes' on its body!


The Koala's closest living relative is another Australian Marsupial, known as the Wombat.

A Koala having a nice sleep in a Gum Tree.... Photo by Agvulpes
A Koala having a nice sleep in a Gum Tree.... Photo by Agvulpes
Vehicle Ferry to access Raymond Island.... Photo by Agvulpes
Vehicle Ferry to access Raymond Island.... Photo by Agvulpes

Raymond Island

Koala mum and Joey recuperating at an animal refuse before being release back to the wild. Photo by Agvulpes at Sleepy Hollow Sanctuary
Koala mum and Joey recuperating at an animal refuse before being release back to the wild. Photo by Agvulpes at Sleepy Hollow Sanctuary

Koala Sanctuaries

There are many sanctuaries in Australia where Koalas are kept in captivity.

In Victoria alone we have places such as:

The Healesville Sanctuary near Healesville just outside of Melbourne

Jirrahlinga Koala and Wild Life Sanctuary near Geelong

However I prefer where I can to see animals in their natural habitat so I suggest if you want to see Koala in the wild you take a nice drive down to a place called Raymond Island.

Raymond Island is situated in the Gippsland Lakes about a 3 hour leisurely drive from Melbourne. The trip is via a divided Highway from Melbourne to Bairnesdale and then turn right and head towards Paynesville. At the end of the road you will find the Ferry.

The only access to Raymond Island is by boat. There is a Vehicle Ferry operating continuously from Paynesville to Raymond Island. (There is a fee for this trip)

If you prefer you can park your car at Paynesville and travel by foot or bicycle on the Ferry to Raymond Island for free!

It will only require a few minutes walking and you will see Koalas in the gum trees.

Most of the photographs I have displayed here were taken on Raymond Island.

Private Animal Refuges

There are smaller private refuges run by animal loving families who give up their own homes and comforts to care for sick and injured Koalas.

One such person is a lady who runs a refuge from her home and calls it Sleepy Hollow. The kindhearted people who run these refuges do so at their own expense and get very little support from Governments and Councils.

The last time I was at Sleepy Hollow I was delivering a Fruit Bat that had flown into our house to hibernate.   At Sleep Hollow then there were 3 Koalas, 1 Kangaroo, 2 Wallabies and others.   These animals were not pets they were to be released back into the bush when considered to be well enough to survive!

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Comments 45 comments

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia

Another great hub on marsupials agvulpes. I have learnt several things here about the Koala that I did not know. Well done indeed!

I do know they are smelly!

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks earnestshub, that is the great thing about this site. Doing the research I am learning so much more about all of my subject matter.

Oh yes Koalas do smell a lot and they also piddle a lot. lol

bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

How very interesting, and so well written. rate up!

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

bayoulady, thanks for dropping by and reading my Hub :-)

Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

Well-written and interesting hub. Plus, CUTE photos. They're so cute that I want to forgive them for being smelly :)

abrarr profile image

abrarr 6 years ago from USA

they are so cute and i love them a lot. that was quite an impressive hub u wrote and good way of presenting the research u have done on the topic.

Merlin Fraser profile image

Merlin Fraser 6 years ago from Cotswold Hills

Great information thanks for sharing. I always thought they were kinda cute but like the Chinese Panda is the Koala a victim of its own stubbornness or inability to adapt its diet to other things ?

Both are endangered species both in desperate need of our help and constant attention but both seem to be as dumb as a stump diet wise. The Panda lives almost exclusively on bamboo a diet which is not exactly suitable for such a large creature yet it persists as does your Koala with its love of the eucalyptus.

I wonder if anyone has ever taken them to MacDonald’s or KFC for a change ?

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

Om Paramapoonya, thank you so much for visiting my Hub :)

I appreciate your kind words and yes I think we can all forgive the Koala for being a bit smelly. I believe the Koala's in captivity are not all that smelly!

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

@abrarr, thank you for visiting my Koala Hub and I appreciate your kind words. I do put a lot of research into my Hubs because I believe that my viewers deserve the best I can give them.

My contacts with Koalas go back many years, I have photos of them reaching back about 40 years. The Koala would have to be my favorite animal :-)

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

@Merlin Thanks for dropping by and I love your comparison with the Panda!

We are fortunate that the demise of the Koala had not gone so far down the dissappearing track as the Panda and there is a lot of good work being done to keep the Koala line going for a long time yet. There is one particular desease that is of concern but the experts do appear to be on top of it!

Another advantage that the Koala has is that it spends most of its life high up in the trees and unless you are alert you would not even know they were there.

You have raised a good idea with MacDonalds and KFC, and my wife has suggested that maybe 'SubWay' could introduce a healthy 'foot long' or maybe it should be called a 'paw long' :-)

carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

Interesting hub on koalas!!

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Duchess OBlunt 6 years ago

Fingerprints! Now that was an interesting fact I did not know.

Good hub.

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

@carolina m Thanks mate, I'm glad you enjoyed the read :-)

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

@Duchess OB, Thanks for your kind comment. I must also admit that I only discovered that Koalas had fingerprints when I was digging through the research!

Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

Interesting info on koalas, ag! Your country has the most interesting collection of native animals!

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

Shalini thanks for dropping by :-) Yep I think I have just scratched the surface with the Koala. Although I am sure they are the cutest and the cuddliest they are not the weirdest by a long way. :-)

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TransScribbler 6 years ago

Great hub! No koalas around here, sadly. Plenty of wombats and possums, though.

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

Well, as they say in the classics: "two out of three ain't bad" I love possums even if they do attack me! and Wombats they are related to Koalas! You only need to drive down to Raymond Island to get a good look at a Koala, but I'm sure you know where that is? ;-)

I appreciate, especially coming from where you do, the nice comment!

ross670daw profile image

ross670daw 6 years ago

Hi agvulpes, As an Aussie I'm ashamed to admit, i did not know a lot about the Koala, I have visited them on Raymond Island though many years ago. I seem to recall hearing, correct me if I am wrong, that the population of Koalas on the island were running out of food, or there was too many of them,and some had to be transported to other areas.

I wasn't aware they had fingerprints either, I will use that in conversation with friends to show how knowledgeable I am, they won't believe me. You have done your research very well my friend, a great topic and a great read.

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

Hi Ross, I do believe you are correct, it was quite a few years ago now and I believe that was the catalyst to start the Koala conservation and prompted making the Raymond Island Conservation Reserve. You can see the Reserve on the Google map above!

No predatory animals are allowed and the Koala population is actually doing Ok. They were pretty healthy when we were there a short while ago now!

Thanks for dropping by and leaving a contribution to my Hub on the Koala :-)

Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 6 years ago from UK

Another great hub on Ozzie animals, Ag. Koalas are really cute to look at, but I've never got close enough to sniff them, so I'll have to take your word about the smell!

ross670daw profile image

ross670daw 6 years ago

Glad to hear they're doing well, Oh yeah, I did see the reserve in your map, a great addition. Thanks agvulpes.

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kimberlyslyrics 6 years ago

ya ya koala, whatever,

the film will fit under door and I just heard another shutter, seriously can't breath too - must be from dodging all the paparazzi, poor me, they always be thinking I is Liberace! but if some Aussie was to write about koala, and you hear about it, please tell. I love them so, but would need too sneak Disguised for a peak, as their cute innocence is not deserving of such media exposure. Agree?

In all seriousness truly, great hub, but I will vomit of jealousy if you took the photos, not personal mate.

This species however absolutely must be protected and its kind encouraged to procreate and grow, but odds for them, like you mentioned, least they are in their natural habitat.

Now these two facts I am still a bit bewildered with, of course thinking how to use these fun facts to help these pure angels. First the gum tree thing could be used to their advantage, given a huge mark up on this product, let me chew on that idea for a little bit.

The fingerprint thing just freaks me out. I have no concept of your prisoner to civilian ratio there at home, but The KOA Gang could be pulling in some serious mooooola on pictures of their fingers, best forward those prints of KOA fingers to me so I can see how similar their fingers are to ours, and send some prints of one with painted nails, I have some ideas, omg we could do something from under their nails like the bottom part of the top of their fingers. Please do get some shots and forward prints too.

Yes I am fully aware I have overstayed my welcome, but clearly have not finished procrastinating on my work yet [btw your fan, i also still prefer, well, unless i am following myself, mail was great! and I concur, just can't remember on what]

OK honestly, I do hate to be rude but may I leave now, I , um, kinda have a life, and I am this amazing writer who has written 9 hubs in almost 5 months, but being the polka I am deleted 130 with last account and forgot to save, yep, highly wanted I am, no gossip here LOL LOL LOL LOL

OK, com on I really have to go but I am open to be willing to be your 'for real' fan if you tell me how you took a shot of your camera/lens that reflects you in the lens with no camera. That's some Koala secret stuff - freaks me out

Absolutely loved your redgage photo's, what beauty [should have told you long ago] but I did not steal any and email to all my family saying i took them, if my mom should comment on my very many hubs and it be mistaken as such, because of course you will be commenting as well

ok, entertained myself enough

cutest hub award winner

hope you enjoy this, rare piece, great lyrics

please let me know if any problems with url, tx

*shutter* shouldn't do speed

xo kimberly

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

@ amanda, hi hope your doing well and thanks for dropping by and leaving such a kind comment :-)

Well I'm sure the Koalas in the tourist park are all powdered up so that they don't smell. It's the Koalas in the the wild that leave a lot to be desired in the hygiene department. lol

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

@ ross Oh yeah alive and kicking I believe. I love the addition of Google maps here its the best thing since slice bread as they say. You can pin-point just about anything!

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

@kimberlyslyrics, Ok maybe I tried the wrong door my eyesight is not so good these days!

Liberace no surely not, he was so good looking lol

You will be the first to know if someone here wants to write about Koalas.

I'm not so sure about the Media Exposure they get, the poor little things may be exploited what do you think?

Hmm I do hate to tell you this that the photos that are not attributed are indeed mine but please no vomiting the Koalas only eat Gum Leaves!

With all of the research going on now I'm sure that the Koala species is safe at least for a few more generations.

If you could chew your way to finding a substitute for the Gum Leaf you would be assured of a place in History!

How would that be as a claim to Fame?

I have no idea of our prisoner to civilian ratio either but I think I see where you are coming from with the fingerprint idea. The mind would boggle, on the evening news reports. It could read something like "The police wish to interview a suspect last seen wearing a grey suit approx 2 feet tall, he has rather large ears and although looking rather cute he is considered to be armed and dangerous"

I will in my travels endeavor to get some shots of these fingerprints :-)

I do believe that your comment is the longest comment I have ever received but I'm not complaining I just don't know how you can sit down and write off the cuff like you do.

It is unfortunate that you deleted all of your 130 hubs but hey you have 9 new ones and remember "the longest journey starts with a single step" Or in your case the first Hub !

I'm sure that you really do know how I got my picture in the Lens or maybe I should just keep it a secret between my two Fox friends and the Koalas of course?

I appreciate you comments about my photos on RedGage but I just try to let the camera do the work and I just push the Shutter Button. I also appreciate that you did not steal any and send them to your family as your own that really would not be fair would it?

I always enjoy that video link you send me about the Broken Radio, maybe you should write a song about a Broken Camera ?

Now I have to recover from my Writers Cramp!

Cheers :-)

Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 6 years ago from India

The Koala has to be one of the cutest creatures alive! :)

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

My FFF, The koala is definitely my favorite cutest creature. Then again the Sugar Glider is rather cute :-)

And what about the possum? Oh and then there is.....

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Thanks for sharing this great hub on Koala. This is first time in my life I've learnt about this wonderful marsupial. Actually, when we say word 'marsupial" Kangaroo is the first word come to our minds.

I wish I could visit Australia and get an opportunity to explore this beautiful land.

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

COL thanks for dropping by and leaving such a nice comment!

It's a pleasure to let people know about Australia's unique animals like the Koala and the Kangaroos :-)

Because Australia is such a large country you would need to allow plenty of exploration time to pick up all of the Wonders of my beautiful land. I would not wish to live in any other country.

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 6 years ago from Southern California, USA

Glad to see you are writing so many Australian animal hubs. Next I hope you write one about the dingo, which I think might be interesting.

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

SweetiePie thanks for the idea :-) I will do some research and see what I can dig up :-)

I appreciate your support!

BennyTheWriter profile image

BennyTheWriter 6 years ago from Northeastern U.S.A.

Cute animals indeed--one of my favorite species, you might say. Hope I get to see some koalas in person some day! Very nice hub.

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks Benny, yes the koala is a very cute animal. They can have a tendency to pee on you though. lol

I guess that could be taken as a sign of good luck. A bit like the Blue Bird of Happiness :-) Hmmm maybe not lol

D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 6 years ago from Lancashire north west England

Wonderful creatures brought to life in this wonderful hub. The pictures are fantastic. Thank you.

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

DAL thanks for dropping by and for your very kind words.

It is not all that hard to make good pictures using the Koala as a subject. The Koala is one of the most photogenic animals there is:-)

tobey100 profile image

tobey100 6 years ago from Whites Creek, Tennessee

Exceptional. The koala is my favorite animal.

PaperNotes profile image

PaperNotes 6 years ago

I salute those people who give their best in taking care and providing refuge to koalas and other animals.

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

@tobey100 yes I agree with you about the Koala it is my favorite as well:-)

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

@papernotes, the people, such as my friend Pam Cale at Sleepy Hollow, who look after animals should be admired and supported in any way possible. Unfortunately they have to fight for every little thing that they need.

Matt 6 years ago

I have been doing some research for my website about koalas and this hub will be extremely helpful.

Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 6 years ago

I love koala bears and I have seen them a few times in Australia, however, I didn't know some of the facts you mentioned here, like they don't drink and it is not a bear. Great hub!

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

I believe that there are a lot of people still regard the Koala as a bear, sometimes I even slip myself and refer to the Koala as a bear LOL

Thanks a lot for dropping by and leaving a kind comment :-)

teresa8go profile image

teresa8go 5 years ago from Michigan, USA

Great hub! Now I have so many more questions. I've got to do my own research. But, is it true that Koalas are territorial and don't like to share their eucalyptus trees with other Koalas?

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 5 years ago from Australia Author

My own research shows that Koalas in the wild spend most of their day at rest in a tree and from my own observations I have seen no evidence of aggression between Koalas. Like most other animals they will of course be aggressive when placed in some sort of danger.

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