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Education

FAQ

Here is a list of all the frequently asked questions which have been captured over the years. If you have a question yourself that is not listed below and would like it to be answered please send us a message and we will be glad to provide you the answer.
  1. Are koalas endangered?
  2. At what age do joeys emerge from their mother’s pouch?
  3. At what age do koalas become sexually active?
  4. Do koalas get drunk on eucalypt leaves?
  5. Do koalas only eat leaves?
  6. Do only male koalas bellow?
  7. How can you tell the age of a koala?
  8. How fast can a koala move?
  9. How long do koalas live?
  10. How long do koalas sleep in a day?
  11. How many leaves do koalas eat each day?
  12. How many types of eucalypt leaves do koalas eat?
  13. What happens when I adopt a wild koala?
  14. What natural predators do koalas have?
  15. When do joeys become independent of their mother?
  16. When they are released, where do you release them?

1. Are koalas endangered?

Across their range in Australia they are found in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia and are NOT considered endangered but are listed as vulnerable. 

However, some local isolated populations of koala could be considered endangered due to habitat loss through housing development. Their food trees are threatened and therefore they could face local extinction.

2. At what age do joeys emerge from their mother’s pouch?

Most joeys emerge from the pouch at around 6 months, they usually weigh 500gm+ they then ride on the mother’s back or underbelly as the pouch is rather cramped and continue to suckle from the mother until they are 12 months old.

3. At what age do koalas become sexually active?

The female reaches sexual maturity at the end of her second year or later and physical maturity at the end of her fourth year. Males – about 3 years sexual maturity and reach physical maturity at 4 years.

4. Do koalas get drunk on eucalypt leaves?

The eucalypt leaf is very low in viable nutrients and koalas have a slightly lower body temperature and consequently a lower metabolic rate than most other mammals, to reduce the amount of energy expended per day. By sleeping 18-20 hours they conserve energy and their waking hours are used to feed, move and seek out mates during the breeding season. They do not get drunk on eucalypt leaves.

5. Do koalas only eat leaves?

One supplement to the koala’s usual diet seems to be dirt. Koalas also eat the flowers, buds, stems and bark of eucalypts, allocasuarinas, corymbias and melaleucas.

6. Do only male koalas bellow?

No, females can bellow also.

7. How can you tell the age of a koala?

Age is mostly determined by tooth wear on the pre-molar and molar teeth. Also skull length and crown to rump length in relation to their weight helps to determine whether they are sub-adult ( not sexually active) or adult.

8. How fast can a koala move?

A koala can climb a tree expertly with considerable speed when necessary. On the ground they are also capable of reasonable speed over short distances.

9. How long do koalas live?

In the Wild – females up to 15-18 years; males 10-15 years. In captivity both can live 15+ years.  We hold the World Record for the Oldest Living koala;  a female called “Birthday Girl” who died in 2011 at the age of 25 years old.

10. How long do koalas sleep in a day?

Koalas sleep approx. 18 hours out of 24. This is an evolutionary strategy to conserve their energy as the eucalypt leaf is so low in nutrients/energy value.

11. How many leaves do koalas eat each day?

Koalas eat at all times but mostly in the early morning and early evening and during each day consume approximately half a kilogram of leaves

12. How many types of eucalypt leaves do koalas eat?

There are approx. 900 species of eucalypt in Australia – koalas are known to feed on approx. 40-50 species depending on locality. Of this 40-50 they prefer to limit their diet to about 10. Koalas also will eat casuarina, paperbark and corymbia leaves. They eat new and mature leaves, buds, flowers and at times bark but the bulk of their diet consists of leaves.

13. What happens when I adopt a wild koala?

Your adoption helps with the rescue and treatment of sick and injured koalas and release back to home range if possible; also the preservation and expansion of habitat, collection of information for research relating to habitat, disease, nutrition and habits of wild koalas and to provide educational material, to increase public awareness of all aspects of the koala.

By sharing in the adoption of a wild koala you will receive an adoption package which consists of a Certificate of Adoption that has the photo of the adopted koala on the front, the name of the person adopting the koala, the name of the koala and the date of adoption. As well as the Certificate the package also contains a story about the adopted koala, a vinyl sticker with the KPS Logo and the words “I Have Adopted A Wild Koala”, a coloured pamphlet about the Hospital and a booklet about koalas. An eAdopt certificate only is also available.

14. What natural predators do koalas have?

Dogs, Dingos and Eagles will take joeys.

15. When do joeys become independent of their mother?

When the joey is about one year old it is no longer dependent on its mother and is fully able to fend for itself.  By the age of 18 months the joey must move away and establish its own home range.

16. When they are released, where do you release them?

As adult koalas (particularly male koalas) are so programmed to maintain a home range and stay there, we must always try to release the adults back as close to where we pick them up as possible. Young sub-adult koalas can, in some instances, be re-located to other areas but always within a reasonable distance in order to maintain genetic integrity. That is, we could not re-locate koalas from one town to another; not only are they genetically slightly different but their eucalypt diet is also different. If for example an adult male was re-located from one area to another; the new area may already be occupied by a resident male which will resist the newcomer’s presence and the newcomer would more than likely die of starvation.