Koalas are an internationally recognized symbol of Australia so it’s not surprising when I’m asked by people overseas whether they live in my garden. They’re really fussy about what trees they like so they’re not likely to venture into my yard often but they are regular visitors to the trees next door, as this one was. They also regularly roam the parkland over the back fence. Sadly it’s not the norm anymore to have koalas living so close to suburban homes so we’re very lucky to have them breeding in the area.
Koala are a tree-dwelling marsupial only found in Australia. They are mostly docile herbivores but can get up quite a speed when they run if they feel threatened. They’re most often seen in the day snoozing and munching in trees which explains their ‘cuddly’ image although in normal circumstances they aren’t tame and their fur is coarse, not soft.
They live on a diet of eucalyptus leaves which provide both their nutrition and most of their hydration, their name comes from an Aboriginal word meaning ‘no drink’ although that’s isn’t completely correct and they do drink from time to time particularly when food is short or when there isn’t as much moisture in the leaves during times of drought or after a fire.
Koala numbers are dwindling with urban sprawl, they are still there but do need our help to protect their habitat. Several people who grew up in Australia have told us that when they were younger you would look into a group of trees and see multiple koalas or they remember seeing them out the classroom window, now it is rare for most Australians to see them in daily life but they’re still around.
We hear them more often than see them from where we live, you hear the males bellowing during mating season as he roams around his territory in the trees behind our house or in the park. This one though is clearly quite young and we think he’s last seasons baby that spent a bit of time with his mom in our neighbours garden. This particular day he was sitting in quite a low and open spot in the park but he was obviously in good health and must have just decided to wait it out until nightfall to relocate to a quieter spot.