Koala

Phascolarctos cinereus 

The koala is not a ‘bear’. It is a tree-dwelling, medium-sized marsupial with a stocky body, large rounded ears, sharp claws & variable but predominantly grey-coloured fur. Males generally are larger than females. Koalas are mostly nocturnal and often sleep for up to 18-20 hours each day to conserve their energy as the eucalypt leaf (their main diet) is so low in nutrients.

Distribution & habitat

The koala is native to Australia & is widely distributed from northern Queensland to west of Adelaide in South Australia. Koalas live in a range of temperate, sub-tropical and tropical forest, woodland & semi-arid communities dominated by eucalypt species.

Diet

A Koala’s main preferred diet is Eucalyptus leaves (they will also eat some other non-eucalypt and also eat bark, gumnuts, stems and flowers). There are over 900 species of eucalypt in Australia – koalas are known to feed on around 60 & prefer to limit their diet to about 10 types of eucalypt that naturally occur in their location. An adult Koala eats about 1/2 – 1kg  of leaves each night. Koalas don’t normally have to drink water as they get most of the moisture they need from the eucalypt leaves except in prolonged hot conditions or drought when the moisture content of the leaves is low.

Life expectancy & Breeding

Average lifespan in the wild is 15-18 years for females; 10-15 years for males. Younger breeding females usually give birth to 1 Joey each year. When the Joey is born, it’s only about 2 centimetres long, is blind and furless and its ears are not yet developed. The Joey stays in its mother’s pouch for about 6 or 7 months, drinking only milk.

Conservation status

VULNERABLE  (IUCN Red List of Threatened Species) – numbers decreasing.

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9:30am & 2:30pm daily

Billabong Zoo, Port Macquarie NSW has a long established and world-renowned breeding programme. These are the names of some our resident koalas:  Males: Stoney | MJ | Harley | Leo | Ollie |Lithgow Females: Jess | Robin | Peta | Sarah | Nomes | Danni | Hilda | Annie | Hannalee | Denise & our newest joey Holly

KEEPER TALK & PATTING PHOTO OPPORTUNITY : Daily at 10:30am | 1:30pm | 3:30pm