Koalas are unique animals native to Australia, recognisable around the world. They also feature in many Aboriginal dreaming and creation stories and are recognised as a totem species.

The koala is the only surviving member of the Phascolarctidae (Greek for ‘pouched bear’) family, whose closest living relatives are the wombats.

We think they are pretty cool!

After our recent visit to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, we thought we’d share a few fun facts we discovered about koalas.

Koala Facts for Kids

  1. Koalas are arboreal (tree-dwelling).
    Koalas have strong arms, powerful legs and sharp claws suitable for climbing trees. Although koalas are arboreal they do climb down to the ground to move between trees. When koalas are on the ground, they walk slowly as they are poorly adapted to walking on the ground. However when disturbed koalas can break into a bounding gallop, moving at speeds of up to 30 kilometres per hour.
  2. Koalas are fussy eaters.
    A koala’s main food is eucalyptus leaves (gum leaves), but they are fussy about what type of gum leaves they eat. There are approximately 900 types of eucalypts in Australia and koalas will eat about 40 to 50 of those depending on where they live. Then of the 40 to 50 trees, there are about 10 they prefer to eat most of the time. They can eat up to 1 kilogram of leaves a day.
  3. Koalas only live on the East Coast.
    You will only see koalas in the wild on the East Coast of Australia. The distribution of koalas covers much of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and a small area in South Australia. According to Living with Koalas, fossil records indicate that many years ago, the koala inhabited parts of Western Australia and the Northern Territory. There are currently no fossil records of koalas ever living in Tasmania.
  4. Koalas are marsupials.
    Although koalas are sometimes referred to as koala bears, they are not bears, they are in fact marsupials. When a baby koala (called a joey) is born it immediately climbs up to its mother’s pouch. Blind and earless, a joey uses its strong sense of touch and smell, clinging to the hair to find its way to the pouch where it attaches to its mother’s teat. The joey grows in the pouch for about six months. Once big enough, the young koala rides around on its mother’s back for a further six months, only using the pouch to feed.
  5. Koalas are mostly nocturnal.
    Koalas often sleep for up to 18-20 hours each day! Nocturnal animals typically sleep during the day and are awake at night. Koalas are a little different, in that they sleep for part of the night and also sometimes move about in the daytime.
  6. Koalas have fingerprints!
    Similar to humans, koalas have fingerprints, a rare occurrence in the animal world. You won’t find fingerprints in many other places aside from primates and koalas. Not only do koalas share fingerprints with humans, but their fingerprints are almost indistinguishable from one another.
  7. Koalas can be very loud!
    Koalas communicate with each other by making a range of noises. The most startling and unexpected of these is a sound like a loud snore and then a belch, known as a bellow.

Video: A Compilation of Koala Calls by Port Stephens Koala Hospital

  1. Koalas don’t usually drink.
    Koalas don’t normally need to drink as they get all the moisture they need from the gum leaves. However, they can drink if necessary, such as in times of drought when the leaves may not contain sufficient moisture. Koala actually means ‘no water’ in the Aboriginal language.
  2. Habitat loss is the greatest threat to Koalas.
    The main reasons for this are land clearing, bushfires and diseases of the eucalypts, like ‘dieback’ which causes the trees to die.
  3. Koalas have their own holiday!
    Save The Koala Day is celebrated on September 30 every year. It is a part of the Save The Koala Month celebrations organized by the Australian Koala Foundation.

Port Macquarie Koala Hospital

Locally, we are very fortunate to have the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, a licensed wildlife rehabilitation facility, helping to rescue and rehabilitate koalas.

The facility is run by Koala Conservation Australia Limited, which is a not-for-profit organisation that includes approximately 200 volunteers dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating koalas and conserving and restoring their natural habitats.

Video: Welcome to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital

Here are 3 ways you can help to support the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital:

  1. Adopt
    Adoption is a meaningful and symbolic way to contribute to the conservation of koalas. Adoption allows you to directly fund koala rescue, management of sick and injured koalas and the rehabilitation of koalas and their habitat. Learn more about the koalas available for adoption: Adopt A Koala.
  2. Donate
    Making a donation contributes directly to the funding of conservation efforts of wild koalas and their habitats, providing care to sick and injured koalas and supporting research and education efforts. Donating is an easy and effective way to directly help our local Koala population, a little goes a long way: Donate to the Koala Hospital.
  3. Visit
    Open every day 8:30 am to 4:00 pm (except Christmas Day), the Koala Hospital consists of exhibit enclosures, a treatment clinic, intensive care units and rehabilitation yards. There is also a Koalaseum – a museum for Koalas which provides information on koala evolution and biology and interactive displays so visitors can touch koala fur or look down a microscope at koala poos (scat). There’s also a gift shop, where you can pick up a souvenir or gift.

Learn more about the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.

Koala Word Search Printable

Feel free to download our Koala-inspired word search and colouring page. Let us know if you revealed the hidden message! 🐨

Koala Word Search (PDF)
Koala Word Search (PDF)

Free Koala Word Search Printable and Colouring Page.

Size: 1.17 MB
Version: v 1.0
Koala Word Search Printable


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Education Guide Mid North Coast