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Phascolarctos cinereus

Is that uncomfortable?

The fur on koala bottoms are densely packed to ‘cushion’ the branches they sit on, and they have bony cartilage under the skin which is perfectly formed for sitting in the “V” shape of tree branches. Koalas have white patches on their bottom which help them camouflage, so they are hard to spot from the ground.

Multipurpose coat

Koalas have a thick, woolly fur. This coat protects them from both hot and cold temperatures and acts like a raincoat during wet weather. The fur varies in colour from light grey to brown with patches of white on the chest and neck, inside arms and legs, and inside the ears.

Arboreal marsupials

Koalas spend almost all of their day up in the trees, meaning they have an arboreal lifestyle.

Look at those claws!

Koala hands and feet have long sharp claws and thick pads for cushioning. With three fingers and two opposable thumbs on their hands, they have a fantastic grip. On their feet, they have a ‘grooming claw’; the first and second toes are fused together and there are two claws on this toe. They use this claw-like a comb to clean themselves and remove excess fur.

What’s that smell?

A male koala is easily distinguished by a brown mark on his chest, known as a ‘scent gland’. Male koalas will rub this gland against trees to mark their territory and attracts females.  

Size does matter

Male koalas are larger than females. An adult male koala weighs between seven and 14 kilograms whilst females usually weigh between six and 11 kilograms.

How long does a koala live?

The normal life expectancy of a wild koala is eight to 10 years whilst captive koalas commonly live 12 to 15 years.

The amazing Sarah

Sarah was a very special koala that lived at Lone Pine until 2001. Reaching the ripe old age of 23, Sarah made it into the Guinness Book of Records for being the world’s oldest captive koala.

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