KOALA! Koalas aren't bears. They aren't even related to bears. The koala is related to the kangaroo. The koala is a mammal. The koala can only live in one place in the world...


Now there are only 2,000 to 8,000 koalas in the wild!

Although not officially classified as endangered, the population of the beloved koala has dropped by 90% in less than a decade! This is due to the destruction of their natural habitat, a narrow crescent on the eastern coast of Australia. Logging, agriculture and urban development have not only reduced the area available to them, but added other dangers. Their habitat has been criss-crossed by roads, resulting in many road kills, and attacks by neighboring pet dogs now are frequent. Disease, too, has taken its toll.


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Koalas aren't bears. 
They aren't even related to bears. The reason the koala is called a koala bear is because the koala looks like a teddy bear. The koala is related to the kangaroo. The koala's scientific name is Phasclarctos cinereus. The koala's nickname is a Native Bear. The koala is a mammal.   They are warm-blooded. The koala's young is called a cub. The koala's young are born alive. Koalas drink milk from the mother. The koala breaths oxygen from air. The koala might look all cuddly but the koala has very sharp teeth and very sharp claws. 
  The koalas have white on the underside and gray on the rest of its body. The koala has big ears and a big nose. The mother has a pouch. The koala has very thick fur. The adult koala gets 25 to 30 inches long. 
  The koala is very small when it's just born. After a month the cub is 1 cm. long. The koala weighs 15 to 30 pounds. One cub is born at a time. 
  The koala cub stays in the mother's pouch for 5 months. The koala cub is blind when it's just born. Koalas breed in the summer. 
Koalas live for 20 or more years. The koala can run as fast as a rabbit. The koalas sleep for up to 19 hours. The koala can only live in one place in the world. The koala live in the East coast of Australia. They live and sleep in the eucalyptus trees. It's hot, light, and dry here. The koala's territory is getting smaller because people are cutting down trees and making farms on them. Koalas can only live in one place in the world. The koala only eats Eucalyptus leaves and it eats so many leaves, it smells like the leaves. The koala hops from tree to tree and climbs the trees to get the leaves. The koala will eat 2.5 pounds of food a day. It uses its claws to get the branches and get the leaves. The koala used to be endangered because people would kill the koala for its fur. But now its against the law to kill the koala. Over 2 million koalas were killed between1908 and 1927. Occasionally koalas are taken by Goannas, Eagles, and Owls. Humans are koala's worst enemies. Dingoes will kill the koala. Now there are 2,000 to 8.000 koalas in the wild. The koala does not have very many enemies. 


Phascolarctos  cinereus
Order Marsupial


eucalyptus (gum tree) forests and woodlands. 
strictly arboreal, living in and feeding on the leaves of eucalyptus trees. Caecum of gut is greatly enlarged (about 6 ft. long) and houses a large bacterial colony that aids in leaf digestion. Usually comes to ground only to change trees. Preyed upon at those times by foxes and dingos. Young hunted by large birds of prey. 


Clumsy but strong swimmers. Lives in loose-knit groups if enough suitable trees are present, but only one animal per tree. Males express territoriality during breeding season, bellowing and grasping the base of a tree while rubbing the chest against it, thus scent marking with chest gland. Females bellow as well during this time but are not territorial. 

NOTE: The koala's closest living relative is the wombat, which is a stationary burrower rather than a nomadic arboreal like the koala. One clue to this relationship is the common design of the pouch, which opens to the rear in both animals. 

Life History

Mating occurs Nov-Feb in the south, Sep-Jan further north. Gestation about 35 days; single young weigh about 1/5 oz and are about 3/4 in long. Newborn crawls from cloaca to pouch and attaches to a nipple to complete its development. Leaves pouch .first at about 5.5 months, permanently at about 8 months. Young joey then clings to mother's back or stomach, sticking head into pouch to feed. During weaning, joey eats partially-digested eucalyptus that emerges from mother's cloaca, thus receiving bacteria needed for digestion as well as food. Life span 12+ yrs (wild) 16+ yrs (captivity). 

Special Adaptations

  • Extra thick fur, especially on the neck and shoulders, helps protect animal from even the worst weather (koalas do not build nests). 
  • Pear-shaped body provides stability while animal sits in trees. 
  • Opposable thumbs and toes allow for a tight grip when climbing. 
  • Long claws help to grip tree bark; double digits joined on toes have the two claws close together to form a comb-like structure for grooming. 
  • Rough pads on undersurface of hands and feet increase traction while animal is climbing. 
  • Large nose with sensitive hairs enables animal to detect differences in smell between different eucalyptus leaves, ensuring that its diet consists of only the best of the bunch. 
  • Cheek pouches allow animal to store food not yet chewed while moving to a safer or more protected location. 
  • Koala cools itself by licking its arms and stretching out as it rests in the trees (koalas have no sweat glands). 

Help to save the koala! Buy and save!

Mel the Koala Bear Beanie Baby (Retired)
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Eucalyptus the Koala Beanie Baby...
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Help to save the koala! Buy and save!